Stop Holding This In

Recently I was instructing a highly intense cardio and strength training fitness class.  Students go through several movements with constant resistance for 50 minutes non-stop.  It's very intense, but extremely rewarding afterwards.  As I was looking around at the students I noticed the facial expressions of one student more than others.  She seemed uncomfortable.  Her shoulders were jetted up a certain way and her face was turning red.  I let out a smooth sounding "Be sure you are breathing throughout these movements" and a smile came across this students face.  She started to appear more relaxed despite the intense workout.

Can you imagine a time when you felt pushed against a wall, stressed, scared and your body tightened up so much that you just hold your breath in?  Here are some instances you may be breathing in less or holding your breathing in without even realizing it and ways of managing it:

  • Pitching Sessions & Presentations - Got a knot in your throat? Breath in and use your mind and body to relax.  Be sure to hold some power poses privately if needed or just maintain a strong stance (check out Amy Cudy's TED talk on it here on how your body shapes you).  Recite a mantra, an affirmation or simply remind yourself of WHY you are doing it and WHAT you get out of it.  Get your head in the game and breath!! 
  • Dealing with challenging people - In the words of character Marcus Burnet from Bad Boys movie "Woosaaa!".  Take a moment to diffuse by going for a walk if you have to.  Be sure you are breathing in and out.  
  • Approaching deadlines for a project - This can sometimes feel like you're walking a tightrope.  If you find yourself approaching a deadline and you aren't sure how to make it ask for help, communicate expectations if needed and keep breathing!!
  • When the body is under stress - This can be during a workout, a dental examine or any situation you imagine your body feeling pain.  Holding your breathing just adds to the anxiety.  Your muscles tighten up and you start to feel more pain and anxiety. If you made a choice to undergo this stress remind yourself of your results.  What's your big reward for this stress you are undergoing.  Imagine yourself somewhere else if that helps.  Breath easy!  

Breathing is obviously essential to your survival.  The right kind of breathing can impact the outcomes to your everyday opportunities. Keep this in mind as you go out there and make great things happen in your life.