With all the uncertainty and anxiety and confusion, and sometimes sheer panic about what’s happening with the COVID-19 Virus, I do not have a solution for you, but I do have something that hopefully will be helpful on today’s somewhat somber episode of The MOVEMENT Movement, the podcast that is typically for people who want to know the truth about having a happy, healthy, strong body, feet first. But of course, in this case, what’s going on with your feet really has nothing to do with what happens with the virus. Actually, there may be a little something that may be useful. We’ll get to that. I’m not offering solutions. I just want to offer something that may be a little respite for your stressful day and somewhat ironically it’s about, we’ll talk about a movement that’s the most fundamental movement that we do and that is breathing, that is in and out, and in and out.
Thing that we do with oxygen and nitrogen and carbon dioxide and all the other things that are in the air on a regular basis now is a time, especially when we’re really anxious or panicked, that our breathing tends to suffer. And that can be a vicious cycle. Breathing restrictions can make you more anxious and again, it can roll down the hill until things are really, really bad. So, I am not, again, suggesting that by breathing differently, you’re going to prevent the coven virus or protect yourself from it. If you hear people making claims like that, please, I mean, jeez, report them to the police. There’s a lot of people who are making claims that are absolutely at the very least irresponsible and certainly not based on anything resembling science or facts or something useful. So please do be careful.
This is just a really simple one. When you’re stressed out, you’re typically not breathing. I want to help you breathe a little better. Get a few moments in your day where you can relax, and I’ll add one other thing that may be helpful. There’s a little science behind it as well. So, we’ll see. So, let’s just start with breathing and I’m going well, it’s real easy to put your hand, one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly button and just leave it there for a second. Just breathe. Don’t try and change anything. Don’t try and do anything. Just, you know, keep one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly button and take a couple of breaths and see how you feel though. One thing I want you to notice and look for and pay attention to is as you’re breathing, which hand moves first, is your chest or is it your belly that’s moving first?
And what I want to suggest and recommend that you do is make sure that it’s your belly that’s moving first. This is not rocket science. Many of you who, if you’ve ever done yoga or Tai Chi or anything, we know about the idea of belly breathing. But just pay attention right now. And if your belly isn’t moving first, then relax. Take a breath into your belly and let it be the thing that initiates this breathing motion. Now we’re not leaving out the chest, we’re just starting with the belly. If actually if your chest hand doesn’t move, that’s kind of okay, but if you really want to get a good full breath, start with the belly and when that seems to be full, keep breathing in the chest is going to move after that and then just relax and let it out. Don’t worry about whether your chest hand or belly hand moves first.
Just relax and let that breath just go and try it again. Just breathing in the belly moves first and the chest finishes and then just let go. If you want to add a sigh, a sigh sometimes, that’s really necessary at times like this against a breath in belly moves first and then the chest and let it go. Now if your belly isn’t moving first, that means you’re tightening up all around your core and just shake it out. Just, you know, give your head a roll. Just move your shoulders, do a little dance in your chair. Stand up and just move everything just to let your whole body just loosen up for a little bit. And when you breathe the belly first and chest, and then relax. Now I want to add two things to this. If you have already done this, you’re familiar with some of this, but now let’s add a little spinal motion. So, as you breathe in, just arch your back slightly. Let your head go back slightly. This is not a big thing just to give yourself some more room when you breathe. And as you breathe out, do the opposite, kind of curling just a tiny bit. So, breathing in belly and chest with a slight arch in your back. and then compressing slightly as you exhale and one more belly first. Then chest, slight arch. Exhale and compressed slightly by curving your back. Here’s one other thing you can try. Put your arms up over your head and same idea, just belly first slight arch and then pull your arms back slightly to really open up that thoracic spine as you breathe, compress and slightly on the way out. Once more. And as you do that little thing with your arms, what you’re trying to do is kind of squeeze your shoulder blades together just a little bit to just open up your chest. Your belly is going to be open. Let your chest open as well. Squeeze your shoulder blades a little as you are slightly, get a little more room, even into the very top of your chest, right underneath your collarbones there’s some room for air.
And then relax and just do one more belly chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades a little bit. Keep breathing in so you get air all the way up into your collarbones is what it’ll feel like. And then relax. So, every now and then you might want to set an alarm. I don’t set an alarm. That’ll be stressful. Every now and then remind yourself in whatever way works for you. Just take a few breaths, hand on your belly, hand in your chest, do a couple, then do a couple with a slight arch and then do a couple with your hands over your head. Letting your shoulder blades contract a little so you really get as much room as possible, to get as much air as possible, and just let it go. So hopefully that’ll help with dealing with the, there’s one other thing you can do dealing with stress.
That is, it’s known to be actually a help to improve your immune system, and wherever and whenever you can go take a walk. Ideally in something like nature, where there’s trees around you or a big body of water around you, or, we don’t where we live, we don’t really have any trees. We just have a big open plain, but even that will do the trick and there’s no magic about whether you’re wearing shoes or being barefoot. Don’t get hung up on that. Just get out around nature, obviously ideally not around other human beings. And just 20 minutes has been shown to, especially if you do it like three times a week, has been shown to improve immune function. So, get out and give it a shot, and while you’re out there, do your breathing exercises as well. I’m not going to get into any theories about what it is about being in nature that makes bodies and minds feel better, not worth getting into that conversation, or sometimes argument.
I’m just saying during these very difficult and stressful times, here’s some things that you can do to be good to yourself. if you can’t go outside, there’s some exercising you can do inside as well. We’re going to, we’ll do more about that later, but most importantly, just want to give you a little something, as I’ve said, and now way too many things to help deal with everything that’s going on in your body and mind right now. Hopefully this will all pass with relative ease and we’ll all get through this. My fingers are crossed. I just hope the best for you and your loved ones and frankly, even people you don’t love, for everyone really. And so, while this is all going on, treat yourself well, be nice, be smart, wash your hands, do a little social distancing and to the extent that you can, continue to live life, feet first, hope this is helpful.
Man, I wish I could even think of anything more to say or something entertaining to say, but these are trying times and I hope this is something, or there’s something, I’m doing to help try to try to be helpful. Thanks again. If this is useful, feel free obviously to like and share and pass it on. I’m not going to do a big pitch. This is not the time for that. If you don’t know where to find us, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com you can find previous episodes. You can find how to spread the word and cross your fingers and keep me posted about how well you’re doing. Okay? Be well.