Head to Heal Initiative
Initiated by Mrs Ruchira Gupta, a physiotherapist, Head to Heal prioritises self-care as a restorative strategy through a customised wellness routine that incorporates body awareness and breathing techniques aimed at managing chronic tension and advocates self-minimising the debilitating effects of physical and mental conditions.
A 4-week introductory programme was conducted by the physiotherapist with 15 staff and interns of NuLife in July 2019. Head to Heal sessions were conducted on a weekly basis for a 1.5-hour duration at a yoga studio, booked in kind by our NuLife Directors and Committee Members and served as a conducive space for the facilitation of the exercises. Following the end of the introductory programme, NuLife worked hand in hand with the physiotherapist to generate an in-house manual encompassing a myriad of wellness exercises and techniques that were taught. The Head to Heal manual essentially serves to enlighten the NuLife family, specifically, for NuLife counsellors to put into practice and impart techniques to their clients during the course of their counselling sessions and bolster counselling support. In the form of emotional support and self-guidance, we hope those who reach out to us in times of adversities will gain the needed clarity that would enable them to restore their displaced well-being.
As a kickstart, we would like to share one such example that was conceived through Head to Heal. This simple and effective exercise brings attention to the different breathing spots present in our body system and how these spots can be utilised to refresh our body and mind for the day.
SEGMENTAL BREATHING AWARENESS EXERCISE
Find a quiet and comfortable space. Sit upright cross-legged or sit upright on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Remember to maintain an upright posture with your eyes lightly closed throughout the exercise. Pay attention to how the breath travels in your body.
This exercise can be conducted at your own pace and time.
- Close your eyes and become aware of your breath
Feel the lightness of the air going in and out of your nose. Do not control it. Do not modify it. Just become aware. Make sure there is no tension in any other parts of your body such as your face, your shoulder etc. Your attention is only on your breath and feel it as you breathe in and out.
- Lightly place your hands on your upper chest
Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Become aware of the air entering the upper lobes of your chest. Feel the movement under your hands. Ensure your hands are lightly placed on your upper chest. Check that there is no tension on any other parts of your body such as your face, your shoulder etc. Remain focused on the movement of the air going in and out.
- Lightly place your hands on your ribcage
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Become aware and ensure that you are not tensing up any other part of the body such as your face, your shoulder etc. Feel the rib cage expand as you breathe in and feel the ribcage collapse as you breathe out. Enjoy that breath. Breathe in and out at your own pace.
- Lightly place your hands at your lower hip
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice that your breath is a little deeper and visualize the air going right down to the base of your lungs. Check that other parts of your body such as your face, your neck and your shoulder are not holding any tension. Breathe in and out at your own pace.
- Lightly place your hands on your abdomen
As you breathe in, expand your abdominal area and as you breathe out contract your abdominal area. Check that no other part of your body is tensed such as your face, your neck and your shoulders.