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Back to School Breathing Technique with Grace and Gratitude

Mindful Wellness and Stress Reduction

Today most of my friends are sending their kids back to school. But this time they are doing it after 6 months of confusion, isolation, quarantine and trauma in the wake of the initial COVID19 outbreak, and now in its lingering aftermath.

For the last decade and then some, I was blessed to work as a coach and guide with my horses, and partner them with children and adults who faced seemingly insurmountable physical, emotional and social challenges. Their lives are filled with a constant cycle of what so many of you have been trying your best to deal with yourself, and as you support your children.

I need you to do something for me, right this second as you read this…


I know that sounds trivial. You hear it all the time and it might even feel a bit cliche, but trust me on this, you haven’t been breathing.

You haven’t been still

You haven’t accepted that this has all happened

You haven’t shown yourself the grace you deserve

I stepped away from life a little over the last couple of months during the summer because I started to feel like I was losing control. I was becoming short tempered, disorganized, and not at all myself. I have the luxury of working at home and my farm is my sanctuary, just as it has been for hundreds of clients over the years.

I still started to unravel under the weight of constant upheaval of COVID19, and the repetitive micro trauma we experience when we see the bad scroll across our news feeds and social media all. damned. day.

You have too, whether you feel it or not. You carry the weight of it, and it’s not energy you want to intentionally transfer to those you love either.

There are a few things you can do, and they can be incredibly powerful for you.

First, let’s go back to the breathing. As I said previously, I see you. I know your self care hasn’t been a priority, but I know you can find one minute, maybe two. That’s all you need, and I know that even that feels like a lifetime right now, but you need it. Not only that, you deserve it. You are worthy of self care. Yes, you. Repeat that over and over again if you need to, okay?

Let’s get started…

Each day before you rise from bed, swing your legs around and place your feet on the floor. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on the darkness you see and nothing else.

Now breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply as you count to four

Hold it and let it fill your chest completely for four full seconds.

Exhale that breath through your mouth, over four seconds.

Sit quiet for the next four seconds without taking another breath, focusing on the darkness of your closed eyes.

Next, Think of something you are truly grateful for. For example, you’re children. Before you repeat the breathing exercise for a second time, say your gratitude affirmation aloud. And then, as you close your eyes, focus your mind on what you are grateful for and proceed to breathe again.

For the next affirmation, acknowledge that it is a new day, a fresh start, and that you’ll face it with grace and positivity without allowing the past to influence your new beginning. Now close your eyes and breathe again.

Now, let’s take a moment to forgive yourself and accept that you are only human, and that you deserve grace, just as you show grace to others. Now close your eyes and breathe again.

And finally, close your eyes focusing on the darkness you see, and repeat the first cycle.

This entire process should only take a few minutes but can create a empowering change in your health and wellbeing. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed during the day, stop an breathe. It’s less than 20 seconds and it can help lower your heart rate, bring you back to the present, and give you the chance to refocus and move on.

This technique is equally effective for children, and a wonderful life habit to help them start their day with a grateful and brave heart ready to face and change the world.

If you’re an Epona client you’ve received a recipe card that has some suggestions for essential oils to use during this process, as well as some diffuser blends that are a wonderful compliment to this breathing and grounding technique. But I highly recommend a drop of Valor in your palms to inhale deeply before you begin, or if it is a particularly stressful time for you, Stress Away or Peace and Calming would be excellent choices as well.

The recipe below is a favorite for fall and I encourage you to give it a try not only for this daily practice, but for any time you feel you need to reconnect with your gracious heart.

Please Note: The content on this site is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease, and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician, veterinarian or other health care professional.

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Back to School Breathing Technique with Grace and Gratitude


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“I contacted Colleen for help with my mare, Delilah, after purchasing her at auction. I did some detective work and discovered she had a past full of abuse, neglect and moved through several homes because of her behavior. She was having many issues like weight loss, ulcers and behavioral problems and I worked with my vet to try to keep treating it all. I was afraid that Delilah might be beyond help. I found Colleen through a mutual friend and she showed me how Delilah’s past and emotional health, and my own fears and doubts about it all, kept her stuck in a cycle of unwellness. With Colleen’s help I learned how to be present for Delilah in the way that she needs me most, and how to help her as she recovers. I’m happy to say that after a 6 months of hard work, my girl is on her way to a fresh start and we’re accomplishing things together that I didn’t think were possible.”

-Andrea R.