A 5-Minute Breathing Exercise To Keep You Grounded Through Fall
Today is a big day! mbg's sustainability editor Emma Loewe and contributing wellness & beauty editor Lindsay Kellner have a new book out: The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self-Care. It's a comprehensive guide to incorporating spirit-infused rituals into your life in a simple but meaningful way. In this exclusive excerpt, Loewe and Kellner discuss why conducting ritual in tandem with the seasons is beneficial and provide a self-care practice you'll want to come back to again and again this fall.
It's easy to get lost in the smaller cycles of existence—the alarm clock that sounds each morning, the daily grind, the commute to and from work. But when we let these habitual actions define our lives, we lose sight of everything that falls in between. Nature's cycle through the seasons, on the other hand, does not lend itself to monotony. The earth tilts and turns toward the sun in a glorious rotation that manifests as warmer and cooler temperatures, brighter and duller colors, crisp air and cool rain. It's a cycle unparalleled in its scope and drama. It's a show that reminds us of the universal forces at play, of the fact that time is at once fixed and finite and fleeting.
There are many ways to live in closer communion with nature's seasons. First, we can use them as checkpoints. Each one's arrival can be an opportunity to reevaluate how we are navigating life and a reminder that we need to continually check in with ourselves if we want to make real progress.
Fall ritual 101
The fall season is an opportunity to release what is no longer serving you. And the simple act of humming can help you do so. Yep, humming is a simple way to self-soothe with sound. It can change your energetic state from frenzied, scattered, or stressed—as it is prone to be in fall—and bring it back to a healthy baseline.
If you think it's a little strange to hum out loud when you're alone, or in front of others, know you're not the only one. A large part of self-care is getting to know yourself by doing things that might be out of your comfort zone, noticing how you react, and having the compassion to not immediately judge yourself. If you feel silly (we all do at times), remember it's temporary and for the sake of deeper healing.
A humming ritual for tuning in.
If you have a hard time listening to your intuition, making your own sound is a helpful way to tap into yourself when everything else feels loud. We can use humming as a tool to move from the doing mind into the receiving or practicing mind and to open to the energy of the full moon. Let's dive into a humming ritual to help you find clarity with the help of the night's bright sky.
What you'll need from the outside:
- Loose, comfortable clothing
- A comfy place to sit
What you'll need from within:
- A receptive heart
- The courage to hear yourself and your own sound
1. Find a quiet place where you can get comfortable and sit uninterrupted for about five minutes. This ritual is effective but efficient.
2. Imagine yourself in your mind's eye, and then begin to deconstruct that image. What colors, scents, temperatures, textures, and other qualities are you made of? Are you oceanic or made of desert or flowers?
3. Feel out how the image in your mind's eye is different from where you want to be next year. This can help you determine what you'd like to manifest by next year and clarify what's needed to get you there.
4. Now that you've brainstormed, clearly imagine the qualities needed. If you decided fire was your element, feel the heat. If mint was your flavor, taste and smell it. If you wanted to manifest abundance, perhaps you chose green as a color. Pick three to five qualities to focus on and hold in your senses.
5. Sitting for a moment, allow one of these elements to come forward. Instead of choosing it, let it choose you. Listen to what wants to be heard.
6. With a singular, clear point of focus, seal your lips and take a deep breath in and exhale through your nose. Do this a couple of times.
7. On your next inhale, engage your low belly and start to hum. Hum into your colors, smells, tastes, and textures. This will help you translate the sound and find your frequency. Don't be afraid to play if it's not right at first.
8. Once you've found your frequency, take a few rounds of belly breaths and begin to hum once more.
9. To seal the practice, continue imagining and home in on a singular point of focus. Find a crystal or other symbolic object and charge it on your windowsill with the energy of tonight's harvest moon. Let it be a reminder of your desired reality and the person you want to become.
Regardless of what you sound like, do your best to refrain from judgment, to remove your ego from the exercise, and allow your body to begin to heal itself.
Reprinted from The Spirit Almanac by arrangement with TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018, Emma Loewe and Lindsay Kellner.