ZEN TIP TUESDAY #5
For ZTT #5 I welcome Melanie Varey from the UK who shares with us some fabulous relaxation techniques you can do at home and even when you’re on the move travelling! Melanie is a qualified reflexologist and shares some wonderful breathing and reflexology techniques to help us achieve a sense of calm and relaxation. More about Melanie and links to her blog and social media are in her bio at the end of this post.
Welcome, and thank you to those of you linking up for ZTT Link-Up #003.
Ciao from me, and enjoy!
Maintaining a sense of calm and feeling relaxed can be a challenge, particularly when you are on the move or facing a stressful situation. Breathing exercises and reflexology can be used in any setting to promote a sense of comfort and well-being. As a Reflexologist myself I am a huge fan and supporter of the power of Reflexology. Used alongside a breathing technique, it can be an incredibly powerful tool. Here are some of my favourite reflex points and breathing exercises towards a feeling of wellbeing.
- Sit, lay or stand as comfortably as you can.
- As you breathe in say “27 in” in your head.
- As you breathe out say “27 out” in your head.
- Continue this (26 in, 26 out, 25 in, 25 out and so on) until you reach 0.
- Aim to calm and lengthen the breath, particularly as you exhale.
- If thoughts pop into your head, allow them to pass and return to your counting.
- Place your hands gently just below your ribs.
- With closed eyes, breathe in slowly through your nose until you feel your diaphragm rise.
- Gently, hold the breath for the count of 2.
- Exhale slowly, feeling your diaphragm lower.
Simply breathing in deeply (that is ensuring that your breath expands your belly), on the inhalation and exhaling slowly is calming in itself. Repeating a positive mantra whilst doing this works to centre the mind and make us feel more positive. This can be anything personal and pertinent to you and your life and needs, for example ‘I feel calm’, or ‘I am loved’. By ensuring that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath, we can slow and steady the breathing and mind.
Focus further by using counting during the breath. For example inhaling for 5, and exhaling for 7, or in for 7 and out for 9 (try to make the exhalation longer than the inhalation).
USING REFLEXOLOGY WITH BREATHING
- The head reflex is located at the top of the thumb on the hands (see image, reflex point A), and the big toe on the feet (point A). By pressing on and around this area we can calm the mind. Press in as deeply as feels comfortable whilst taking a deep, slow breath. Release the pressure as you slowly exhale.
- The solar plexus reflex is wonderful for promoting a sense of calm. Located in the centre of the lower part of the balls of the feet (Image point B). On the hands, located below the joints of the index and middle finger (image point B). Apply pressure to this area, front and back and hold this for a few seconds, inhaling as you press and slowly exhaling as you release the pressure. Working along your hand horizontally, across the finger joints (see image) as this will also stimulate the diaphragm reflex point which is also very calming.
- The adrenal glands work very hard during stressful times so stimulation here can help restore balance. To locate the reflex point on the feet, find the centre of the arch area (as shown in image-reflex point C). To locate the point on the hands, draw a V with your fingers down your index finger and thumb. The point should meet in the middle of the Venus mound. Press here in the fleshy, web part of the hand (see image reflex point C). To use this with breathing, inhale through your nose as you press on both sides of the hand and exhale slowly as you release the pressure.
As with any exercise, practice makes perfect. If you are used to the exercises and reflex points in a calm situation it will be much easier to apply the techniques in more challenging ones. Try and find some time each day to rehearse the methods if you can. It really will pay off.
Two Plus Dogs (a UK-based lifestyle blog focusing on food, well-being and dog friendly living) is written by Melanie (a teacher of 18 years and qualified reflexologist) and her husband Jon (also an education professional with a passion for sport and exercise).
They are lovers of good food (when eating in and out), exercise, fresh air and finding beautiful places to enjoy in the company of their two cheeky whippets. Finding brilliant products and truly dog friendly places to stay or visit is their passion and they want to share these with like-minded dog families.
Here’s where you can connect with Melanie: Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
ZTT LINK-UP #003
Hi Min and Melanie thanks for some great tips which I’ve shared in my Facebook Group – Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond – Let’s Thrive. I don’t know much about reflexology so thank you for the explanation and I will be trying some of the exercises. Breathing is so simple yet it can certainly calm our anxious feelings just by concentrating on our breath. Loving #ZTT Min and I’ve linked up as well. Have a great week ladies.
Thanks so much for sharing the post Sue, and for your ongoing support of #ZTT! I love these tips and isn’t it great to have that diagram showing us the reflexology pressure points and what they help with! Also some guidance on some breathing techniques is handy too. 🙂
Hi Min, thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and I will share on my social media. Have a great week! xx
I’m going to keep those hand reflex points in mind and start using them at work when the drama escalates. I think some mindful breathing and using a pressure point or two might help calm my mind when the craziness begins! Lovely to meet you Melanie and thanks for sharing your tips (I need all the help I can get atm!)
So sorry to hear there’s still some dramas at work Leanne. I hope these tips of Melanie’s can help! xo
Hi Min – work drama continues to escalate and I’m drafting my letter of resignation this week – enough is enough. I’ll press a few of those points to help keep me calm while I write it 🙂
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂
I’m so sorry to hear it continues to escalate Leanne. I’m surprised but also not surprised to read you’ve reached the point of resignation. I think it’s a wise decision because you do so much to make a happy and fulfilled life for yourself, and this work stress is not good for you. You deserve better! Best of luck with it all! xo
Fabulous Post and Wonderful Idea to have a Zen link up (I pinned it to 2 boards) plus reshared on FB! Keep up the good work and be well.
Thank you for sharing the post Nancy, and thanks for linking up with #ZTT. Have a wonderful week! 🙂
Thank you, Melanie and Min for these great tips with the hand and foot images. I’ve been practicing abdominal and yogic breathing. Now I’ll add reflexology to it. Have a wonderful week! #MLSTL
I hope you find it adds some value to your practice Natalie! Hope you have a wonderful week too! xo
Breathe and focus on it are my go-to for being in the moment. My husband and I used to do reflexology and were always amazed by how well it worked. Perhaps it’s something we should practice again.
Hi Jennifer – It’s amazing how focussing on our breath can have so many wonderful benefits … particularly for lowering stress and slowing down a busy mind! Reflexology fascinates me and I’m actually very keen to learn more! 🙂
Thank you for the reflexology exercises and the diagrams to go with them very helpful. Now I just need to remember to use the techniques.
I hope you find them helpful Victoria!
Thank you Min and Melanie. I love these simple relaxation tips. I already use slow deep breathing to calm myself. Now I’m going to add some of these pointers. #MLSTL
I’m going to be giving these pointers a try too Christie! 🙂
Reflexology is such a wonderful thing to be able to do for yourself. I had never thought about specifically focusing on breathing at the same time, but of course that makes total sense. Pinning this x
It does make sense doesn’t it Jan. I’m going to be giving it a try myself. xo