When it comes to stress-busters, everybody has one or two rituals they swear by. Be it a Zen-inducing yoga pose, a long soak in a magnesium bath, or a brief meditation with your fave crystal, finding a chill-inducing habit that works for you is a mental-health essential.
For celebrity DJ and HBFIT founder Hannah Bronfman, keeping her cool involves getting back to basics. “I know it sounds like ‘duh’ because we do it all day—we breathe—but I’ve developed a breathing practice for myself that has changed my nervous system in a way that I never thought was possible,” she said during a panel discussion at the launch of Audible’s original series Kick Ass with Mel Robbins.
Even with her crazy-busy, jet-setting schedule, Bronfman finds time each day to practice her centering breath work. “Every night and every morning, before I go to bed and right when I wake up, I take a breath,” she said. “I inhale for five seconds; I hold it at the top for five seconds; I exhale for five seconds; and I hold at the bottom for five seconds. It’s helped my whole being to be able to respond and not react.”
“Think of a square with all of its evenness. Can our minds be the same way—balanced and seeing life from all angles?” —Kajuan Douglas, yoga instructor
Bronfman’s preferred practice is an old favorite among yogis and meditators. According to Kajuan Douglas, a New York City-based yoga instructor, the exercise Bronfman described is called “square breathing” and it can help restore your body’s equilibrium when you feel overwhelmed. “Square breathing is a Pranayama, or breathing practice, that balances all aspects of your breath…It sedates the mind to create a mood of relaxation and clear thinking,” he explains. “Think of a square with all of its evenness. Can our minds be the same way—balanced and seeing life from all angles?”
Bronfman was also quick to point out that, unlike other stress-squashing habits that can take a toll on your bank account (you know—impulse shopping, overindulging on adaptogens, etc.), this breathing exercise won’t cost you a penny. “You don’t need to buy anything; you don’t need to read a tutorial,” she said. “The practice for me has really just changed the game.”
Ready for more sage advice from Bronfman? Read up on her simple tip for a healthy relationship and the two products she swears by for a post-shower glow.
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