Week 1: Nervous System Fundamentals
Week 1: Nervous System Fundamentals

Week 1: Nervous System Fundamentals

📝 Assignments + Group Discussions

This is a big first week, we're front-loading a lot of content and assignments, it won't be so intense next week.

✔️ // NSM Listening + Onboarding

👩‍🚀 Complete: all onboarding steps
🎧 Listen: Week 1 30 minute theory episode
🎧 Listen: Week 1 20 minute protocol episode

🫁 // NSM Protocols

🌬️ Practice: Cadence Breathing for 10 mins each morning + evening
🤐 Explore: sleeping using a strip of mouth-tape (yes really!)

👪 // NSM Self-Reflections + Group Explorations

👪 Introduce yourself //

Create a thread to connect with your co-regulation crew members and introduce yourselves.

🔥 Your intentions //

Reflect on what is motivating your desire to learn this theory + protocols. Why are you each committed to this training for the next 5 weeks?

☠️ Course pre-mortem //

can you think of any reasons why you might not be able to fully commit to a daily breathing practice for the next 5 weeks?

🙋‍♂️ Interoceptive Insights //

what have you discovered about your body or your breath from exploring your sense of interoception so far?

👨‍🎓 Re-enforce learnings //

Share any highlights or concepts that you've learnt so far in your own words to the group (voice memos are great for this)

IMPORTANT: Finally, when you're done—please complete the Week 1 Typeform Assignment here (also embedded below) This is due EOD Friday.

🎙️ Theory Ep.#1 // Transcript

👋 Welcome to the first episode of Nervous System Mastery!

I appreciate you being here and giving your time and attention to this. Let's dive right in.

🎙️ Here's what's on the agenda for this week:

  • We'll begin by unpacking some of the learning outcomes of this course and why it's structured the way it is.
  • Then we'll talk about the Art + Science of 'Interoception', how it connects with embodied cognition and why it's so immensely important to cultivate this under-appreciated sixth sense.
  • Finally I'll give an overview of what is known as 'functional breathing', outlining what the biochemical + bio-mechanical effects are in the body, as well as the numerous benefits to be found from rewiring our default breathing pattern to be more functional and less dysregulated.

Before we get there, I want to share three outcomes in mind for these theory episodes:

  • Firstly, it's often much more motivating to engage in practices when we understand the mechanisms behind them. I was always the kid at school raising my hand and asking why a hundred times to understand why were we doing the things the teacher said.
  • Second, when you understand the protocols from first principles, you are more empowered to tweak and adapt them to better suit your own needs. Especially when we're doing breathwork we're exploring the fundamental relationship between the mechanics of our respiratory system + the cascading bio-chemical effects. Once you understand the mechanical and chemical effects then you can create your OWN breath practices and begin to stack them.
  • And from the perspective of your journey to nervous system mastery, when we know why something is good for us — it actually increases the amount of dopamine released when we engage with that activity, which is a really positive thing as it means you'll not only enjoy it more but it will re-enforce your desire to engage with the protocols over the long haul.
  • And perhaps most importantly, I hope to impart at least a little bit of my fascination for this subject. There is still so so much that we don't know, new research is coming out all the time and I would love if the theory I share kickstarts your own learning and research journey.

🎯 Goals of Nervous System Mastery

You've signed up for this course called Nervous System Mastery, and I'm guessing that before seeing the landing page, you hadn't considered that your nervous system might even be something that you could consciously control, let alone master.

So what do I mean by Nervous System Mastery? As I was building the curriculum for this I realised that the entire curriculum could be simplified down into two simple components.

Those two components are Interoception + Self-Regulation Protocols.

Interoception, is a fancy science-y way of saying that you are highly aware of how you feel. The goal of these 5-weeks is for you to each develop a deep curiosity, a fascination even, for your own body and what's happening inside of it at any given time.

And over time, to be more deeply in tune with your own body, noticing how external sensory inputs – or other humans – are impacting your internal state.

And from here coming to an embodied understanding that the state of our nervous system in each moment is in fact a filter or lens through which we experience our reality.

Self-regulation protocols are more self-explanatory and we'll dive into these in more depth over the coming weeks. But basically, there are protocols which will increase your Nervous System activation, these are 'Up-Regulating' protocols, and others which reduce your nervous system activation, these are 'Down-regulating'

One important distinction is that we are going to be working with 'Bottom up' regulation practices — as opposed to top-down practices like talk therapy or forms of mindfulness practice that work with our thoughts. These definitely have their place, but for the purposes of regulation it's far more efficient to work with what's known as our afferent nerves — which make up 80% of our total neuron network that send information from the body to the brain vs. only 20% that go from the brain to the body.

So bottom-up practices essentially just change the messages coming from the body to the brain and are easier for you to have conscious control over.

Alright, from here — we can say that the essence of Nervous System Mastery is knowing in any moment how you feel internally (which is interoception) & if desired, being able to consciously shift your nervous system to a more appropriate state (using protocols which leverage the bio-mechanics or bio-chemical systems inside your body). It's like having a remote control for your nervous system that I sometimes refer to as [IF THIS THEN BREATHE].

Why focus on the breath for this training? Well the breath is something that we all have access to, 24/7 at zero cost. It is an incredibly effective intervention that works with your endogenous biology as opposed to say outsourcing our state changes to costly supplements or external stimulants which in my opinion are more like micro-managing and risk disrupting the symphony of our complex biology.

The invitation for you over these coming weeks is to be a scientist of your own experience before + after each exercise.

Build a daily practice of 10 minutes every morning and evening that cultivates both your interoceptive capacity and gaining an embodied sense for how this buffet of breathing protocols impact your nervous system, such that you can intuitively learn how and when to use them in daily life.

We'll look at this in more detail during the final week where we'll be creating our own personal Human "OS" that is customised to our own needs and physiology.

Just 5 weeks of consistent daily practice will have a measurable impact on your resting average 'Heart Rate Variability' (HRV) + ventral vagal tone, so you should find yourself with more energy, deeper states of rest & even heightened creativity. And don't worry if you're not sure what all of these terms mean yet—or the neuroscience feels a little overwhelming right now—because we'll be re-enforcing these ideas and going into more depth over the coming weeks.

Finally, I'd like to add that I'd like to encourage you to press pause as many times as you like during these theory episodes and either record a voice memo or jump into the Discord audio room and share what you've just heard but in your own words.

The only way that this knowledge and these practices will stick is if you're regularly digesting, embodying and sharing back in your own words to others. You'll also have access to all the education and resources necessary to help you go from brain-based knowledge to body-based wisdom.

Okay, that's enough pre-amble. Let's dive into what the Nervous System actually is and why cultivating your sense of interoception is foundational for receiving the feedback from your body and therefore being able to change our state appropriately.

🧠 Nervous System 101 + Interoception

Contrary to cultural conditioning many of us received, you are in fact not a brain on a stick... you are in fact an incredibly complex network of over 100 billion neurons running like a vast interconnected web throughout your body.

I sometimes like to imagine that The human body is the most remarkable battery on this planet... it essentially is a self sustaining power source that runs on captured sunlight. It's pretty unbelievable and we take it for granted most of the time.

I won't get into the nitty-gritty aspects of what's known as embodied cognition — which is a fancy way of saying that not only does the brain influence the body, but the body also influences the brain.

It sounds obvious in hindsight but it has a relatively short history from Heidegger and John Dewey in the early 20th century. But the word I want you all to really GROK and that I think we'll be hearing a lot more about in the coming years is our sixth sense of "interoception".

This is in contrast to 'exteroception'— which you can think of as stimuli that comes through your externally facing senses like vision or hearing or taste.

Much of the processing of our signals takes place beneath conscious awareness, fortunately because it would be tiring to always be tracking our heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension... we're only able to pay attention to a very small window of things at one time.

So cultivating interception — is to hone our ability to move our attention to different aspects of our inner landscape — this is a skill that can be trained quite easily and it is as important as sleep when it comes to your nervous system performance.

Are you with me so far? I hope so... take a moment right now to see if you can sense your heartbeat listening to this. Or notice your belly, does it feel relaxed or is there some tension?

These are simply ways of noticing our bodies and bringing instant understanding to how we're feeling, often when we simply bring our attention to an area with tension, the very act of doing so softens it.

Alright lets get into some of the neuroscience.

If you can grasp what I'm about to tell you it will likely transform your relationship to your body and your health.

Here it is: all of the protocols we will cover will impact either the internal chemical — such as the amount of carbon-dioxide in your blood, or internal mechanics — such as the muscular movement of your diaphragm while you're breathing... it's that simple.

These are the two levers that are constantly impacting your felt sense of nervous system stimulation or relaxation.

Let's unpack this claim: our brain is constantly sensing for either bio-mechanical changes or chemical changes like blood PH in your body.

So embodied cognition, or the brain/body relationship is primarily held via the Vagus nerve (which is actually a bunch of neurons wired together, like a series of superhighways) they leave the brain stem, it's a two way street. You can think of the brain as the command centre in this bi-directional system.

Now here's the amazing part. We have conscious control over at least three levers that change either the mechanics or the internal chemistry of our body — they are: breathing patterns, which is what we'll be mostly working with, but also your posture and your visual system.

Stanford Professor and Ophthalmologist Andrew Huberman has shared in-depth studies that show how our eyes are an expression of your autonomic nervous system. This is intuitive when you imagine meeting someone who has darting eyes as if they're looking out for a threat.

So coming back to this idea of interoception—it is in my opinion one of the MOST important skills that you can build.

You can think of yourself being like a chef learning to taste your yourself. Michael Montaigne once wrote that "I look inside me: I have no business but with myself; I continually observe myself, I take stock of myself, I taste myself. Others...they always go forward; as for me, I roll about in myself."

So this is what we'll be doing, rolling about and tasting ourselves.

In the clinical studies, the classic measure of interoception is how accurately you can count your own heart-beat. Which helps but there is so much richness available—when we really pay attention, we can tune into all kinds of internal sensing neurons and get feedback not only on our heartbeat but literal data on chemical changes in our gut, our breathing mechanics or how rested we feel. One subtle example of this is that when our body down-shifts into more relaxation we not only tend to yawn or sigh, but there is also increased saliva production in the mouth.

Like any scientist, listening to these feedback loops is the first step to being a Nervous System Ninja. We notice feedback that comes in the form of a feather—perhaps early sensations of exhaustion before it becomes the brick or the dump-truck of burnout down the line.

See how often you can do a micro-internal checkin during the day. Perhaps if you're waiting in a queue for lunch, really tune in and explore how the the story of 'hunger' actually feels in your body.

Wearables like the Oura Ring which I've recommended in this course, are helpful I believe mostly because they help us to trust our own interoception more over time. If you get a score of 60/100 you can tune in and inquire if that matches how you feel internally. This helps us to escape being stuck in autopilot mode.

If you'd like to go deeper into this I've linked a research paper titled "Interoceptive Awareness Skills for Emotion Regulation: Theory and Approach of Mindful Awareness in Body-Oriented Therapy" which shares some clinical examples of 'body-literacy' and one of their conclusions was that 'interoceptive experience, reconnects the individual to deep bodily states of equilibrium, helping to override and rescript maladaptive stress responses and automatic patterns'.

It's fascinating to explore how Interoception connects with emotional intelligence—in the course notes I've included an image of the 'Mood Meter' which is an app developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. There is a 2x2 grid that has low/high energy on the y-axis and positive/negative emotions on the X-axis.


What we call 'emotions' are actually only a mental label from our mind, which judges the aggregate of our breathing + our gut chemistry + our heartbeat + other internal sensations.

My invitation to you is to begin to correlate how you experience some of these emotions in your body—for example, when I start to feel an inkling of frustration my jaw gets a little tighter and I feel a tension in the middle of my chest just below my sternum.

On a related note, I know a few of you listening have experienced panic attacks in the past—so you might be interested in the findings of one study which found that sufferers of panic attacks may be highly sensitive to—but unaware—of an accumulating pattern of subtle physiological instabilities that occur before an attack. In this study, the patients were hooked up to sensors which measured physiological indices: including changes in respiration, such as how deep, fast or irregular people were breathing; cardiac activity; and evidence of sweating and their data analysis found strikingly significant changes in the hour prior to experiencing panic attacks.

Illness generally speaking isn't the result of random misfortune but arises due to our disconnection from our bodies. And unfortunately the more that we have chemicals like cortisol running through our body the harder it becomes to access this internal awareness so we double down on living in our minds and trying to fix whatever the condition is with things that are external to us — be it drugs, pills or even in extreme cases, unnecessary surgeries.

So I hope by now you're starting to sense how stupendously essential it is that you take time to cultivate interoception — another reason for this is that if you're just blindly following a bunch of practices that I or someone else tells you to without paying attention to the changes in your body, then you're really missing the point.

Please consider this invitation to imagine as yourself as a chef who is honing your capacity to taste all aspects of your internal body.

🚀 Functional Breathing 101

In the final part of this theory I want to introduce you to the concept of 'functional breathing'. But first, I invite you to take a moment to ask: How is your breathing right now? In this moment? Where is your breath reaching? Are you breathing through your mouth or your nose? Or perhaps you were holding your breath slightly until you brought awareness to it?

Our aim here is to identify the signs of dysfunctional breathing & from there learn how to make chiropractic style adjustments' of our breathing awareness. And before I dive into this section I want to credit the work of Patrick McKeown and the Oxygen Advantage training that he has spent the last two decades researching.

Okay so what are the six traits or signs of likely dysfunctional breathing when resting or lying down?

  • The main two are breathing through the mouth and movement of the upper chest.
  • Additional signs are if you can hear your breathing at all during rest or you experience frequent sighing or yawning.

This isn't a precise definition but generally includes breathing patterns which point to 'over-breathing' or irregularity of breathing during rest.

We will come back to this in week two but as I mentioned in the beginning of this episode, there are two levers that impact how we feel— the biochemical aspect, which for the breath is primarily CO2 present in the blood and second the bio-mechanics, where we are seeking an increase of what's known as 'intra-abdominal pressure', created by breathing into the lower-diapghram of the belly.

Alright from here I want to introduce the key principle of functional breathing which might sounds counter-intuitive at first.

We breathe less to do more

I'll say it again, we want to breathe less to do more

This is likely contrary to what many of you might have heard around taking big breaths during the day—and the reason for this in a nutshell is that when we breathe a smaller volume of air, we are increasing the amount of CO2 in our body which has the counter-intuitive effect of actually increasing the amount of oxygen that our cells receive.

I'll say this again—when we breathe in less air, we are increasing our blood CO2 which is increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to our cells. The idea that carbon dioxide is some kind of waste gas is a myth. We actually want more of it in our blood to promote oxygen uptake (via what's known as the 'Bohr effect')

Right now you might be wondering what does functional breathing actually look like in practice and how can I do it?

There are three aspects that you need to remember: your breathing should be Light, Slow and Deep. I'll say that again. Your breathing should be light slow and deep.

Why light? Well as mentioned above, the lighter breathing increases CO2 in your system which improves blood circulation, 02 delivery and also increases the concentration of nitric oxide which leads to a heightened feeling of calm.

Okay, second: why breathing slowly? The so-called perfect breath is actually about 5.5 seconds in, 5.5 seconds out for 5.5 breaths per minute. However most of us have a breathing rate of 14 breaths per minute or higher and studies have shown that this has actually been increasing over the past couple of decades.

If you have an Oura Ring it will tell you your respiratory rate per minute. If this is higher than 15 it's a sign of some dysregulation. When we breath more slowly, our vagus nerve is stimulated and what's known as 'baroreceptors' are stimulated which improves your heart-rate variability, which we'll be returning to in week 3.

Finally, why do we want to breathe deep—or breathing into the lower diaphragm. Well from the bio-mechanics, it not only helps with the slow breathing but also increases our lymphatic drainage and the muscle movement actually stimulates tiny neurons by the muscle movement in our lower belly and pelvic floor that signal a relaxation response. I'll add that many of us habitually do not breathe into our bellies or may be unsure how to even do this.

Addressing this and gradually allowing your breath to naturally re-enter the belly—such that roughly 80% of your breath movement is below your rib-cage—is one of the most high leverage and impactful changes you can make for your nervous system regulation.

In the protocol episode this week we'll be practicing what's known as Cadence breathing which is a simple breathing practice that will allow you to rewire your default breathing such that it is slower, lighter and reaches the belly.

And for those of you who are interested in the neuroscience: with each breath you take in this way, you are actually re-patterning your phrenic nerve, which is a majorly important cranial nerve that's responsible for the speed and rhythm of your diaphragm.

🤐 Your Mouth is *Not* For Breathing

Alright, there's one last aspect of functional breathing that is absolutely crucial to understand. That is that the vast majority of the time, your mouth is NOT for breathing.

The best way I can describe this is to invite you to imagine that your breathing is like the gearbox for the engine of your nervous system.


Functional breathing is akin to coasting in first or second gear... we only want to be mouth breathing on the very few occasions that we're pushing the revs of our engine to the absolute max in 5th gear—during extremely intense exercise for example.

Why is this? Well, mouth breathing by default is unhealthy breathing. There are so many reasons for this...

  • Firstly, mouth breathing is highly correlated with fast, upper chest breathing which we've just talked about as contributing to stress, anxiety and brain fog due to low levels of oxygenation.
  • Second, we've evolved to breathe through our noses, it's an essential part of the system: doing everything from filtering and warming air as it enters the body, one study showed that it reduces dehydration by around 42%.
  • Finally, and perhaps most fascinating is that you even have a NASAL MICROBIOME, so millions of good bacteria in there which work hard to ward off infection and opportunistic pathogens (study)

So if you mouth breathe at night, it's also a significant barrier to good quality sleep—and one great way to be sure of nose-breathing is to try wearing a single strip of medical tape while you sleep which both my partner and I use every night before falling asleep.

It's weird at first but we both now find it fun and it's just become habit.

Still need convincing? For a deeper dive into the plethora of benefits of nose breathing over mouth breathing see Patrick McKeown's Medium article here.

📝 Summary + Wrap up

Alright, I'm conscious that this is a hell of a lot of information and science that I'm throwing your way—as a reminder today we talked about:

  • 🧠 Why you are Not a Brain on a Stick and the extreme importance of cultivating your capacity for interoception
  • 🩸 We've discussed the basics of functional breathing and how the two levers of bio-mechanics or bio-chemistry radically shift our experience of life.
  • 👃 And finally we talked about why functional breathing is optimal when it is: Light, Slow, Deep and through the nose.

You will be embodying these practices for cultivating interoception and functional breathing during the first protocol episode—but in addition as I mentioned earlier I encourage you to record a voice memo, or attempt to re-articulate the gist of what you heard today in your own words. It could be to a friend, to your learning pod or to a rubber duck... that's the only way that you'll be able to see how much of this actually landed.

Alright, so onto your assignments for this week:

The most important practice for this week is the cadence breathing protocol which you will find in this week's PROTOCOL episode.

The recommendation is to set a timer and practice for at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.

To help with motivation and encouragement, the invitation is to post an emoji or sentence in your learning pod once you've done this each day to help build the habit

As well as explore sleeping using a strip of medical mouth-tape and also to share in Discord what have you discovered about your body or your breath from exploring your sense of interoception so far?

Please also complete the Typeform that is linked in this week's course notes which will both reinforce these learnings as well as help us to know that you're on track.

IMPORTANT: Finally, when you're done—please complete the Week 1 Typeform Assignment here (also embedded below) This is due EOD Friday.

🫁 Protocol Episode #1 // Transcript

🫁 Daily Breathing Protocol #1—'Cadence Breathing' + Belly Stone Breathing + Interoception

🎙️ About these Protocol Episodes

  • Hi there, welcome to the first protocol episode!
  • These episodes are designed to share only the distilled techniques + protocols that you will need to follow. It will likely help to appease your rational mind to understand the mechanisms at play, but you will notice the effects without the deeper knowledge.
  • One of my favourite quotes is from a Papua New Guinea Tribe who say that 'Knowledge is only a rumour until it lives in the muscle'—and I think that many of us can relate to reading and consuming information until our eyes go square but if we're not showing up for a daily practice, nothing really shifts.

🌬️ What we'll be practicing

In this first week we're going to be focusing on two things:

  • Learning to cultivate interoception with an internal check-in at the beginning and the end.
  • We'll be practicing breathing light, slow & deep into the belly through 10 minutes of guided 'cadence breathing'.

🤷‍♂️ What's the purpose of this practice?

Hopefully you gained a sense from the theory episode as to some of the benefits of learning to rewire our default breathing patterns.

I'll just add that if you were to do nothing else at all for the rest of the year, that working with this 'cadence breathing protocol' for ten minutes, twice per day, will do wonders for your nervous system regulation, levels of energy and ability to relax.

Dozens of peer reviewed studies have shown that cadence breathing:

  • Increases blood oxygen saturation during rest and also exercises what are known as the baroreceptors which in turn increases heart rate variability—which is something we'll be diving into more deeply in later weeks.

So by practicing this simple breathing technique twice per day for ten minutes or longer you'll be improving your breathing biochemistry + biomechanics.

I'll also speak to two common barriers that I find people run into when starting out with this practice:

  • The first is that if you find yourself struggling to breath cleanly through your nose (which many people do) you can try the nasal unblocking practice which involves simply taking in a full breath of air and holding the breath while you move your neck up and down. Repeat this 4-5 times until you feel your sinuses clear.
  • The second is that many of us become very concerned with the question of 'Am I doing this right?' The answer is yes. You can't breathe wrong. Over time and with consistent practice you might find a greater sense of ease emerging, the breath might naturally become lighter or more noticeably into the belly. But there is a quality of allowing this to emerge gradually with practice.

🙋‍♂️ How + When to Practice

The easiest method for practising cadence breathing is to sit upright or lay on your back. This gives you the best access to your spine (straight spine) and allows you to fill your lungs more completely.

If you feel like you might not be breathing fully into your belly a tip would be to start off lying down and place a small weight, perhaps a stone or something that weighs a kilo or two on your lower belly to create downward pressure on the lower diaphragm.

Personally I like to practice in the morning, after some kind of movement or stretching, sitting upright on a couple of cushions with my spine straight in the morning and then practice laying on my back in the evening when I'm unwinding with an emphasis on breathing into my lower belly, but I invite you to experiment here.

It also helps to set an external timer for this practice. I typically use the gong sound on an app called InsightTimer, but really anything will do.

You can also listen to binaural beats whilst practicing, I've recommended Cory Allen's beats or an app called Endel, both of which you can find a link to in the on-boarding guide.

👃 The "Cadence Breathing" Protocol

Okay, let's get to the breathing itself. The breath itself is very simple but there are subtleties that can take a while to master.

  • It's a light inhale through the nose for 3 seconds
  • Followed by a relaxed hold for 3 seconds
  • Then a slow and smooth exhale for 6 seconds
  • Finally a hold at the bottom for 3 seconds
  • You then repeat until the ten minute timer goes.

*If an exhale for six seconds is too much for you right now, is it can be for many first timer breathers, then you can start with a inhale to exhale ratio of 2:4 instead, which would look like an inhale for two seconds followed by and exhale for four seconds—and slowly work your way up to 3:6 slowly over time.

🙋‍♂️ You can't do it wrong, but the more that you practice I invite you to pay attention to these three things:

  • Is your breath actually going all the way down into your belly? If you are only breathing into your chest this will feel less relaxing and may be re-enforcing a sub-optimal breathing pattern. If you're not sure then definitely practice lying down on your back with a small weight on your belly to provide added resistance. I like to use a stone that weighs a couple of kilos or so – a couple of heavy books works as well. If this is the first time you're trying this, it might be tricky for many of you so if you do find it challenging don't worry it will come with time—the trick really is to allow your body to do itself and go slowly. If you are practicing sitting upright you can also place both hands at either side of your lower two ribs. As you breathe in, feel your ribs expanding outwards. As you breathe out, feel your ribs moving inwards.
  • Second, pay attention to the breath itself. Ideally we want it to be slow and smooth, without any rough edges or pauses during the inhale.
  • Lastly, the lighter you can make your inhale, such that you feel a little bit of air-hunger after a few rounds the better. You don't want to ever be out of breath, but by keeping yourself on the edge of air-hunger, overtime you'll be increasing your CO2 tolerance.

🎧 Guided Breathing for 10x rounds

Alright, I'm going to guide you through four rounds of the practice itself and then the binaural beats will continue for the remaining ten minutes. Feel free to pause the audio so you can get yourself settled.

Let's begin with spending the first minute or so practicing 'interoception-sensing' (which in the neuroscience studies is referred to as "open monitoring") but it's basically getting deeply curious about your internal landscape. This is the foundation for cultivating embodied wisdom.

We're starting off this internal check-in because you want to be able to feel the difference before and after the effects, once you feel and notice that you will intrinsically want to practice more.

Begin with noticing any external sounds present while you settle in.

Next notice your physical contact points with the cushion or chair or bed—what quality of sensation is present here?

Now drop your awareness internally, inquire to see if your muscles are feeling stiff or supple, are you carrying tension anywhere? In your face or your shoulders perhaps?

Now inquire as to how your breath is right now. You can put your hands on your belly and ribs, does your stomach feel empty or full? Can you perhaps feel or hear your own heartbeat? As you're tuning into these sensations you are literally strengthening your interoceptive capacities.

Alright, now I'm going to guide you through the first four rounds of cadence breathing. If you choose to practice this on your own in the future, I recommend setting a separate timer that will go off after ten minutes.

Okay let's begin.

Inhale through the nose: 2, 3.

Hold the breath, 2, 3.

Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Hold, 2, 3.

Inhale through the nose: 2, 3.

Hold the breath, 2, 3.

Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Hold, 2, 3.

Inhale through the nose: 2, 3.

Hold the breath, 2, 3.

Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Hold, 2, 3.

Inhale through the nose: 2, 3.

Hold the breath, 2, 3.

Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Hold, 2, 3.

Now I invite you to continue at your own pace. Remembering to gently bringing the breath down into the belly and allowing it to be easy.

Enjoy the practice and don't forget to check-in with how you feel once your ten-minute timer goes off.