Breathing. It’s automatic, right? Well, yes and no. The shallow, thoughtless breath is, if not automatic, common. Default mode. Conscious breathing, that deep, fully-present breath, is not automatic, yet it is natural. It’s what your mind, body, and spirit crave. Breathing is our connection to life. It tells your body, the wholeness of you, “I choose life!”
Breathing is so simple AND it is a powerful and effective tool. It’s free AND freeing. You don’t need extensive study and training to learn how to do it. You can do it anywhere, anytime. It is natural and easy. You can use it when you’re in a difficult situation, experiencing the daily pressures of life, or taking time to relax.
When you are outside of the present moment, lamenting the past somehow or worrying about the future, you are like a vacant house. So, when the resources, people, potentials and opportunities show up, you are not “at home” to greet them and receive them. The breath will support you in being home to receive…being home to really live.
What is conscious breathing?
Conscious breathing is breathing that is deep and full. You are fully present in the now moment. You drop down into you. The mind quiets and the belly fills. You feel a sense of calm and relaxation melt over you. It is rhythmic and natural. Imagine the breathing of an infant. They do it so easily, so naturally. No thought. No effort. Just a deep, peaceful breath…in and out…in and out. There aren’t a lot of rules around this, but breathing through the nose is very beneficial, as it is the body’s humidifier. Also if you’re breathing into the chest and lungs, that’s not deep enough. You’re belly should rise and fall if you’re lying down or move in and out if you’re sitting. It’s that simple.
Where can I do?
Anywhere! Walking down the street, picking the kids up from school, sitting in a meeting (especially sitting in a meeting!)…anywhere.
When should I do it?
Any time you think of it! Feel your shoulders creeping upward, tensing as they go? Take a few deep breaths. Waiting in line at the grocery store…breathe. Under pressure at work…breathe. Waking up, going to bed, taking a shower…breathe!
Why should I do it?
Breathing gets you into the core of you, your center, your balance. It gets you fully present in the now moment, which is where everything happens – where you create, where you receive. When you are consciously breathing, you are not leaking your energy into the past or the future. Your energy is fully contained in the moment.
Breathing does so many things…
- helps relieve so much stress and tension
- invites balance of emotions and calm
- supports ease, flow and grace
- invigorates your systems
- tells your body, mind and spirit that you choose to live
- helps you to come into alignment, allowing your body to naturally heal and mend
- responsible for about 70% of the body’s release of toxins each day
- gets you out of efforting and into flow
- allows you to pause for a moment, to stop your mind from clicking away, and to let the information you need to come through
- helps creative solutions and answers to show up and be accessible
- supports the opening of the feeling centers, making you more sensitive and aware
Start your day with some breathing. Set up the day for calm and clarity from the beginning. At a particularly challenging part of my own awakening, I made an intentional daily practice of this for a 6 month period. It helped me to feel fully aligned with the grander part of me or rather, the wholeness of me. Before I got out of bed, I’d imagine myself at a trailhead, preparing to set off on my journey. It was a beautiful way to connect more deeply with myself and step off on the right foot each day. I could hear my own voice more clearly and sense the when the voice I was hearing in my head wasn’t mine. The activity helped me cultivate more patience and a sense of calm. And I felt more like I was creating my life instead of reacting to it.
Relaxation Breathing (Inspired by Dr. Norma Delaney’s Breathing Exercise)
- Lie on your back preferably on something soft and cover with a light coverlet. Bend your knees and move your feet about eight inches apart. Point your toes upward. Let your spine relax straight.
- Scan your body for tension. As best you can let your body melt into what you are lying on.
- Bring attention to your breathing and place your hand on the area where your navel resides. Inhale and exhale. Notice if you are breathing into your upper chest, or is the abdomen truly moving. People who are nervous will breathe short, shallow breaths in their upper chest.
- Place both of your hands gently on the abdomen. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose into this area. Notice how your abdomen rises and falls with each inhalation. Your chest should move only the slightest amount, if not at all.
- Continue to inhale through your nose and exhaling through your nose or mouth. This is as simple and effortless as a baby breathes.
- Breathe for about five or ten minutes, once or twice a day. You can also breathe into your abdomen while standing, driving or walking. After a couple of weeks of gently practicing this program you can increase any of these practices to longer periods of time.
- At the end of each breathing session scan your body once again. At the conclusion of the exercise notice/compare how you feel now with how you felt at the beginning.
- When you allow this program to become the new way you breathe for life, you will begin to notice how much more relaxed your body and you become.
Use the above exercise while in a warm bath. Add sea salts to help release more toxins from the body. Also helps release aches and pains that can be symptoms of the awakening journey.
Images found on Pinterest