“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.
– Robert Louis Stevenson
Travel time is an EXCELLENT time to improve your breath control and your health all at once.
Whether you’re traveling in your car to and from your job, waiting in an airport getting ready to take a vacation or travel from city to city for business purposes, taking a power walk around your neighborhood, walking to the store or from class to class on campus, or from your kitchen to your bedroom, you can use this time to improve your breath control.
What’s Going On In Your Head?
Before I explain, I want you to think about what you do when you travel to any of those places.
Are you thinking about your home life, job, money, relationships, your health or the world situation? Are you trying to solve problems? Does any of this cause you stress?
If you’re at all like me and millions of others, it’s likely that you can identify with what I just wrote. If so, I want to give you an exercise you can use to not only relieve stress, which can improve your health, but also one that will clear your thoughts and increase your breath control.
Clear Your Head
* First of all, I want you to clear away all those thoughts mentioned above and replace them with thoughts about how you want to increase your control over your breath. Think about how you want to use that breath to support your tone and control the way you express yourself. Use imagery techniques (visualizing places or things that relax you) if they help
* Slowly let out a deep breath
* Prepare to do the Slow Leaky Tire but not with a stop watch or clock
* Look at what’s in front of you on your way to your destination and pick a point towards which you will go (for instance, if you’re walking from your kitchen to your bedroom, note the spot from where you’re starting, then look down the hallway at the doorknob as a point, or if you have to turn corners to get there, look at the top of each doorway as a point)
* As you walk towards the point you’ve picked, let out your breath slowly, using the Slow Leaky Tire and see how far you can get without having to take a new breath
* Mentally mark that spot where you ran out of breath
* Next time you walk from the kitchen to the bedroom, repeat the exercise, but this time mentally tell yourself that you will go at least one step further than last time, then go further. Often you’ll find that you can go much further than one step, but go at least one
* Repeat this when you go from room to room throughout the day
Once you’ve mastered the walking leaky tire technique in the privacy of your home, try the same thing when you’re walking to work, class, going shopping in the city or at the airport, etc.
* Pick a point down the street, maybe a steet sign or someone’s house. It’s not important what it is, it’s just important that it’s something you pass on a regular basis when you walk that way
* Focus on the object and begin the Slow Leaky Tire as you walk toward it
* Let out your breath as quietly as possible so that you don’t look or sound odd to others who might be walking around you. In a city (like New York) this is easy to do
* Try to reach the spot you picked as your focus before you have to take another breath. If you pass it and then run out of breath, mark the spot mentally so that you can go further the next time you walk that way. Be sure to start at the same spot each time
* People ask me all the time how much time they should put into doing breathing exercises each day. Ultimately, I tell them as often as possible without getting too dizzy or light headed. Deep, controlled breathing is great for your health, for reducing stress AND helping you to build breath support, so do it whenever and wherever you possibly can.
* Most importantly, YOU are the only person who can determine what’s best for you, so examine your goals and timelines and decide what it is you really want for yourself and then make time to do the things you have to do to get what you want. If it takes 30 minutes or 3 hours per day to achieve your goals, do whatever it takes for YOU and for YOU alone!