Take a Breather

For this blog, I want you to take off your shoes, sit cross legged on the floor with a straight back, close your eyes and relax.

This is a post about breathing. Why do we need a post about breathing, you might ask? Because most of us only make use of a very small part about lung capacity.

Whenever our children are having a problem or someone close to us is in a panic, we probably advise them to relax and take a deep breath. But how often do we do that ourselves? Whenever we are confronted with chaos, a deep breath should be a reflex. It instantly transports us to a place of calm and peace. It doesn’t solve our problem, it won’t magically put money in our pockets or send the solution to our crisis. But it will clear our mind and enable us to focus. With that power, we can take a more nuanced look at the problem and work towards a solution.

How do we make that deep breathing a reflex? We have to train ourselves.

Here’s how:

With our eyes closed and our back straight and our butt on the floor, breathe in through the nose deeply, filling up the lungs as much as we possibly can. Even when you think your lungs are full, try to sip a little bit more air in.

Then, release that air through the mouth. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. It takes practice to engage your lungs to the point of fullness. Soon, you will feel your heart rate slow and you’ll feel a rhythm to the deep, fulfilling breathing. As you continue these deep breath’s try to feel a pause at the top of your inhale, as if you were at the top of the roller coaster prior to your descent. After you exhale all of the air out, try to feel a place where there’s no inhale or exhale. Just quiet.

One of the challenges I face while performing this type of deep breathing is that my mind wanders. It focuses on my endless to-do list or jettisons to some random experience from my life. I don’t want these thoughts to intrude on this exercise. I have to challenge myself to repeat a mantra. I use the following: “This is my inhale. This is my exhale.” That works for me.

I hope you will try this and begin to incorporate this type of cleansing breath into your daily life. When you’re at work and things are stressful or you’re at home and confronted with a problem, before you attack it, breathe.

(Photo credit: The hills are alive* via Foter.com / CC BY)

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