Episode 223: Feeling Stressed? Catch Your Breath with Harmony Slater

Game On Girlfriend Ep223

With stress management and spiritual wellness techniques, Harmony Slater is focused on supporting spiritually curious entrepreneurs with science backed Wu to eliminate burnout.

 

If you're running a business and you're feeling the day-to-day stress Harmony gives us tangible, workable tips in this episode that you can start using right away for free.

 

Harmony is a National Board-Certified Health Coach, trained in Quantum Coaching and in the Mastery Method. She's also a Certified Ashtanga Yoga Teacher, one of less than 20 women in the world to hold this honor, after training in India for 15 years.

 

She began traveling to East Asia in 2002 to study Buddhism and spent five years living between India and Thailand. She holds BA degrees in both Philosophy and Religious Studies and founded two yoga schools in Canada.

Path to spiritual wellness and breathwork

Harmony says she has always felt a deep spiritual connection – even from a young age. She recalls her mother taking her to various churches, teaching her how to meditate and about yoga.

““It felt like for me that this idea of God, a higher power, was very much just normal and something that was real. … But also there was a keen understanding that that doesn’t always show up in one way,” says Harmony.

 

Her journey took her to China to study Buddhism and India, where she learned about Indian philosophy, culture and practicing yoga.

 

“I think that you can connect to something that really feels like it's from your heart, and it doesn't have to be the same as someone else, but that the principles are the same, right?” says Harmony.

 

There are heart-centered emotions and values such as love, peace, goodwill, generosity, courage and compassion that every religion talks about.

 

Harmony says the idea of going it alone – that you have to do everything yourself and work hard feeds into the myth that the harder you work, the more you’re going to get and the more successful you will be.

 

But this creates a disconnect. It keeps us in a constant state of fight or flight. You start to see division and sides, and it creates all kinds of chaos, physically in our bodies, mentally, and emotionally in our experience of the world and with each other.

 

For example, if you’re in a fight or flight state because you’re stressed out at work and then you get cut off in traffic, your response might be over the top.

Finding trust to reduce stress

Overstimulation, hypervigilance, fear of the future and the desire to change the past can have a direct effect on our nervous system. It can reinforce the idea that you’re not safe and affect your trust in yourself, your decisions and can ramp up stress.

 

For Harmony, this is where having that bigger spiritual perspective comes in. When you can trust that you were making the best decisions that you could and also trust that there's a bigger awareness, consciousness, plan, and intelligence that has your best interests at heart, then you can relax.

“Trust is so essential,” says Harmony. “If you don't trust, you can't surrender. And in order to relax your nervous system, there has to be a sense of surrender. You have to be able to let go.

 

You need to be able to drop into that greater connection to creativity and empathy.

Power of breathwork

Breathwork is powerful. It’s the one faculty we have that is controlled by our autonomic nervous system. It's in control of our heart rate, our digestion, reproduction activities, hormones as well as our breathing.

 

Our breath is the one function we have control over, explains Harmony. We can take a big inhale. We can hold the breath at the top. We can hold the breath at the bottom. We can lengthen the exhale. We can take conscious control over it anytime we want.

 

Our inhale is connected more to a sympathetic state. It's leading, it's expansive, it's energizing. The exhale is connected to that surrender, that resting, that relaxation, the parasympathetic state.

Expand your breath

An easy exercise that you can do is to learn the lengthen and expand your breath. Beginners can start by lengthening your exhale to be twice the length of your inhale. This helps activate your vagus nerve, which helps you switch out of the fight or flight response. It’s like putting the brakes on stress.

 

Harmony says a great tip is to also count. If you inhale for four seconds and exhale for eight, the same region of your brain that does the counting also determines whether you’re in a stressful situation. Counting helps counter the stress response.

Connection to abundance

Moving into that greater state of trust of relaxation where you can surrender, where you're open helps you see other possibilities and opportunities. Your heart and your brain function on the same wavelength. which people can feel.

 

People reflect and mirror each other because we have this awareness of what someone else's energy is like, says Harmony. We co-regulate. If you're someone who is in that beautiful state feeling relaxed and calm -- you're automatically more attractive to everyone around you. They want to be near you because they just feel better by being in your presence.

Free gift for listeners

Download Harmony’s guided audio for a two-minute breathwork exercise and check our her six-week immersion course on Ancient Breathing, which examines history, philosophy and offers more breathwork exercises.

 

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