I recently heard about a professional woman who finds her Third Space between tasks with a quick Three Breath Relaxation. The advantage of this third space is that it provides space between stuff and relaxes the whole body, simultaneously.
We have already learned the benefits of the Third Space in my previous blog but why would we also want to relax?
Relaxation turns the autonomic nervous system from fight, flight or freeze to rest, relax and restore – sympathetic to parasympathetic. Physiologically, the stress chemical cascade is halted and the system is flooded with relaxation hormones. The physical result is relaxation throughout the musculoskeletal-skeletal system and our mind clears, enabling reasoning and logic.
In short, our sympathetic nervous system is excellent and necessary for reacting to danger but not so good for decision-making and responding. Whereas our parasympathetic nervous system keeps us relaxed and clearheaded, and when we turn it on we have the capacity to respond to life rather than being caught in the endless cycle of reaction.
So here it is.
Three Breath Relaxation
- Sit, stand or lie (shut the office door and lie on the carpet – I know of a woman who keeps a cushion in her desk drawer just for this purpose), comfortably. Ensure you are warm and supported, as best you can.
- Either shut your eyes or lower your eyes to the floor; soften your gaze.
- Breathe in and bring your attention to head, face and neck, breathe out and relax your head, face and neck.
- Breathe in and bring your attention to your torso, shoulders and arms, breathe out and allow your torso, shoulders and arms to relax.
- Breathe in and bring your attention to your hips, legs and feet, breathe out and allow your hips, legs and feet to relax.
- Job done. Take a few moments to rest in the stillness you have created, before returning to your life.
- If you are particularly stressed or stimulated you might like to try a few breaths at each place.
- You might also like to try adding a final breath to relax the whole body.
Experiment with this practice and make it your own, every body is different and your situation changes from day to day, moment to moment so see what works for you in the moment without being rigid.
I hope you enjoy your newly relaxed state and I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this easy third space.
PS: when you want to stop reacting and start responding, take a moment and do the Three Breath Relaxation.
Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.