I have a deep appreciation for the power of breath. This appreciation was not always there, in fact, for most of my life, I rarely knew it existed. I felt the shallowness of my breath when I would become anxious, or maybe take a breath now and then when someone would tell me to to “chill out.” I was aware of my breath while running and doing yoga, but once the activity was done there was little awareness of my breath. That was until my first panic attack and I was clearly aware of the lack of “Breath”. That panic attack was a blessing, although at the time it seemed as if my life was ending, as it gave me the opportunity to start on my healing journey.
What I have discovered about breath is that our “peace of mind” is in our breath. Does that mean that the circumstances in our life immediately change once you start deep breathing and meditating. No. It means the way you connect with your circumstances changes. Your health issues could still be causing you pain, your bank account can still be in the negative, your relationship can still be falling apart-but deep breathing and focusing on breath brings an opportunity for greater change. Breath gives us an opportunity to let awareness in, a greater ability to feel your emotions, and helps us to surrender.
It's a funny thing in our society as we go to great lengths to prevent breath from stopping (death), but do little to cultivate and honor it. We do acupuncture treatments, take xanax, drink a glass of wine so that we can find that space that allows us to breathe more easily; however, the ability to breathe easy was always there. I think of breath now as a romantic comedy. The one when the person you were looking for to bring you peace of mind and happiness was actually your best friend whom you discovered 20 minutes before the movie ends while running on a New York sidewalk trying to find a cab yelling “wait, wait, wait…” . Breath has always been there, waiting for you to connect to it, asking you to surrender to it, and giving you an opportunity to see your world and the world around you differently.
Here are some recommendations on how to cultivate breath.
Five minutes in the morning do deep belly breathing. Breath into your belly extending the buddha belly all the way out and exhaling through your nose.
Deep belly breathing in moments when fear, anxiety, worry are clouding your mind.
Deep belly breath at least 10 times in an hour throughout your work day.
Dr. Weil has a great link to a breathing technique that is called 4-7-8