Updated: February 13, 2017
Practice centering and alignment.
- Kick off your workout by pausing for one minute and breathing deeply and slowly together in silence. Make sure you’re sitting or standing comfortably with your feet firmly on the ground, your neck and back tall and straight, and your shoulders relaxed. If it helps, close your eyes. As you breathe, try to stay conscious of your partner’s breath as well. This exercise can feel awkward, especially when doing it over the phone, but don’t skip, as it’s a valuable practice. This is also a good way to end workouts.
Breathing is literally essential to human life. It’s so obvious, we often take the act for granted and stop doing it effectively.
When we are actually mindful about doing it slowly, deeply, and with intention, there are a number of powerful, scientifically proven physiological effects — slowing our heart rate, lowering our blood pressure, generally calming our system.
Pausing to breathe gives the body a chance to regulate certain hormones, which helps us control our emotions and think more rationally and strategically.
Furthermore, the simple act of doing anything physical with other people in rhythm — whether it’s breathing, clapping, dancing, and so on — builds trust and stronger emotional bonds.
Breathing is a simple, powerful intervention, and as with all things, we can get better at it with practice.