Here is the full transcript of yoga teacher Stacey Schuerman’s TEDx Talk on Breath: Five Minutes Can Change Your Life at TEDxChapmanU conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Breath – five minutes can change your life by Stacey Schuerman at TEDxChapmanU
Stacey Schuerman – Founder/Owner of SunSpark Yoga
So in our day-to-day lives we are constantly bombarded with an enormous amount of sensory experiences that are beginning to overload our sympathetic nervous system — loud noises, flashing lights, crowds, advertisements, anything that’s trying to gain our attention, which begins to activate that fight-or-flight mechanism within our body, throwing us out of balance.
But what if there was a tool that you could tap into every single day, something that happens naturally, that we can use to reverse that, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, come back to that rest or digest mechanism within our bodies, restore balance, reduce blood pressure, slow down the breath, heart rate before during and after a stressful event.
What if there was a simple as just breathing. What if you took five minutes out of your day just to focus on the breath? So you may think sitting in silence focusing on your breath for five to ten minutes a day seems really boring. You have too many things to do. It’s a daily indulgence you can’t afford to do.
You might be thinking: ain’t nobody got time for that. All right. I couldn’t resist. But what if there was a crucial, crucial regimen for your health? What if by taking that five minutes a day would make a difference in your life and your day?
So where do we start? Let’s begin here right now with your breath. So take a moment wherever you are, choose you might stay seated, you might stand up; whatever feels right for you, might want to stretch around a little bit. Just choose where you want to be and then once you make that decision, take a couple of moments to even shift a little bit, get comfortable.
Allow the eyes to softly close. I can hear and sense the shifting to let yourself settle, let the eyes softly close. Take a moment as you’re here to feel the feet firmly planted into the ground, maybe feel the sit bones dropping and if you’re seated. Start to feel the spine lengthening up to the sky as you take a deep breath in, start to feel the shoulder softening down the back. Start to soften the muscles into the neck, into the face, into the jaw. Take a moment here.
Begin to allow yourself permission to let go, to let go of everything outside of this space. Let go of anything that might have happened before this very moment. Let go of anything that you might have to do afterwards. Let go of any judgments, any expectations about yourself and of this practice.
Allow the mind to settle into the heart, into the body. Even begin to listen to the beat of your heart. Welcome yourself as you are at this very present moment, physically, emotionally, mentally. Begin to bring your awareness to your breath, to the deep sensations of the breath.
Notice the rise of your chest as you inhale. Notice the dropping back down as you exhale. Notice the lengthening effect as you inhale, the deepening effect as you exhale. Notice the natural spontaneous breath. Notice that without doing anything but just bringing your awareness to your breath automatically lengthen on the inhale, automatically deepen on the exhale.
Notice yourself maybe sitting up a little taller or standing up taller on the inhale. Notice yourself rooting down deeper on that exhale. Begin to bring in a sense of peace, calmness, serenity on your inhale. Begin to let go tension, fear, anxiety, exhale. Allow your internal vision to move your breath throughout your body.
Take five deep breaths in, take five deep breaths out.
After your personal fifth breath, on that next inhale count how many times it takes to get to the very top of that inhale, to balance it out count that same number down on your exhale. You might be working with a number of four, five, six, seven, eight or higher, whatever your number is stay with it. For the next five breaths count up all the way to your inhale and count back down all the way to your exhale. Five deep breaths in, five deep breaths out.
After your personal fifth cycle of breath, allow the count to drop away. Even allow the internal vision of the breath to drop away. Allow your awareness empty completely of any images, thoughts, sensations, impressions, experiences. Take a moment here to notice smoothness of the breath, quietness of the mind, even the stillness of the physical body.