… is your breath. We have been breathing since the moment that we entered this world and, as something that is so vital, it is also mostly overlooked…. until it becomes a problem. Why should I pay my precious attention to it you ask? I asked the same thing until I learned about the health benefits and starting suggesting it to clients and using the breath myself to anchor in the present in my work, my family and my life…
Our breath is like a barometer of where we are at: excited, scared, tired (yawn!), out of shape (huffing and puffing), but mostly it tells us we are alive and in this moment.
There are moments of breath we remember…
like when my children were born… waiting and listening for that first breath and watching it over the next months as I crept into their rooms at night. Aah.. all is well, they are breathing. Or the week I spent in hospital with a child with pneumonia, waking up in a panic only to see the short, shallow breaths rising and falling. All is OK. Then, waiting as my son gasped with a medical condition where he held his breath until he passed out, then quickly regained consciousness.. the longest moments of my life until I heard that breath… Everything’s alright. Now, as I visit my elderly father in the morning when he is still asleep the first thing I look for is the rising and falling of his chest. Good. Another day. All is ok right now. Breathing calms the nervous system, loosens tight muscles, produces seratonin, a ‘feel good’ chemical and blows out carbon monoxide.
So precious, life-giving and always there. It seems to be what I have heard many clients refer to in difficult times.
While grieving: “All is know is that I am still breathing”.
In pain: “It’s difficult to breathe”.
When anxious: “I stop breathing”.
It’s no wonder to me that there is a whole lot of research to support the health benefits of mindful breathing. It is one thing that is always happening NOW. This breath, not the next or 3 breaths ago. NOW. It is the quickest, easiest way to become present to your life.
Check it out… where is your breath? Oh, there it is under your nose where it’s always been. All is good. How does it feel? Where do you feel yourself breathing? Try breathing into your belly without lifting your shoulders for a count of 4, exhale for 6. Good, now do that 5 more times consciously today. And watch how things change..