Posts In: awareness

Breath awareness is one of my favorite de-stressing tools. Three cool things about breath.

  1. Ever present. It’s true that if you stop breathing all your stress will go away. But as long as you’re still breathing, you’ll have this tool at the ready to help you de-stress.
  2. Free. No cost to install or maintain this tool.
  3. Reminds you that you’re connected to something larger. You can’t breathe in isolation. With every breath you’re recycling breath that’s been breathed by your loved ones, your irritating neighbor, a petunia, your dog, Buddha… No such thing as a virgin breath.

By altering your breath you can feel more relaxed, more energized, more confident, more present, more intuitive… But before you start changing your breath, get acquainted first.

I’ve included a 4-minute breath meditation.

It’s something you can listen to often. What did you learn from your breath?

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At the beginning of a yoga class I ask students if there’s anything they want to focus on—a pose, a part of their body, an emotion…

I had a student; I’ll call her Beth, who always asked for corpse pose. And she wanted to do it for the entire class. Yoga’s corpse pose or savasana is the final resting pose at the end of class.

Beth not only joked about wanting to spend the entire class in this pose, she also requested milk and cookies as it reminded her of nap time at pre-school.

Why Beth was right

Our western culture values action over rest. And subscribing to that philosophy contributes to your stress, tight muscles, sleepless nights, upset stomach…. Corpse pose offers you a great place to practice non-doing, to experience deep rest.

Even though the pose reminded Beth of a nap, your goal is to stay awake and be aware. The resting of corpse pose offers profound effects. You can enhance the effects by

  • Making sure you’re not going to be cold.
  • Using an eye bag to block out light.
  • Finding a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
  • If you have a time restriction, then set a quiet alarm. I like the cricket sound on my phone.
  • Practice regularly.

How to Be a Good Corpse

To practice corpse pose, come on to your back. Your legs are about hip distance apart. Place your arms by your sides, palms face up. If your low back is uncomfortable with your legs extended, then place your feet on the floor, a little further than hips distance apart, and lean your knees on each other.

Once you’re in the pose draw your focus to your breath. Continue to watch your breath until you’re ready to come out of the pose. Then roll on to one side. Stay there for a few breaths. Let the relaxation of the pose come with you as you transition back to a seated position.

Great for long workdays, travel, any time when your stress level is too high. Use it for recovery. Use it for prevention. Give it a try and then share your experience. What did you notice?


Pop quiz. (Don’t panic. You won’t be graded.)

You’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of “to do’s” on your list. No clear priority about what should happen first. Feels like everything on your list “needs” to happen NOW.

Here’s the quiz part. What tool should you pull out of your de-stress tool kit first?

Meditation, you say. Or how about a walk in the park. No wait, it’s an aromatherapy bath, a deep breath or… I know the answer. It’s, its, its…

Awareness? What? Why? Huh?

Awareness is a tool, you ask? Yep, one of my favorite and the first tool in the cool tool for 2012 series. 

When you feel stressed your reflex may be to reach into your tool kit and grab something that will soothe you quickly. The downside to the reach and grab method is that our tool kits contain some out dated tools. Like peanut butter.

Peanut butter as self-care?

Since I was a kid my de-stress tool kit has contained peanut butter. I’ve graduated to what one office mate called my “nut butter collection”-almond, sunflower, hazelnut…

When I reach into my tool kit and grab awareness first, I can then be mindful about choosing the right tool for the current stress. But if my little hand grabs the almond butter jar first, there is no discernment about what tool would be in my highest good. It’s almond butter all the way.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with nut butters. Clearly I’m a fan. If I’m feeling low blood sugar then a spoonful of almond butter will do the trick and get me back to work grounded and energized. But if I’m feeling emotionally drained, then nut butter’s not my friend. (Sorry nut butter.)

Playing with Awareness

I think we too often look outside of ourselves for the answers. Our body, mind, spirit, emotions, and energy all contain powerful information to help us get and stay on track. What track? The path of our purpose. The path of our growth.

I’m not saying you should never seek the wise counsel of your religious leader, business guru, psychic, best friend, or mom. But first consider checking in with your wise, wise self. Yes, I mean you.

How do I proceed?

Start by paying more attention to the signals from your body, mind, spirit, emotions, and energy. Make friends with these messengers and their messages. If this is a new practice you might want to ritualize it until it becomes something you do more naturally. Set a time and place to check in. Journal about what you find.

Have you signed up for my Body, Mind, Spirit Business Balance quiz? When you took the quiz you received your score and worksheet. You also received a link to an audio file containing an awareness body scan.

In case you signed up for my ezine before I added this feature or you don’t remember getting the audio file, I’ll include a link in the next ezine.

And if you haven’t already signed up, sign-up today and you’ll get your results and the mp3 file as soon as you complete the quiz.



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