The breath, the breath, the breath. We hear it so often when we are needing something to 'calm' us down or to unwind-"Just breathe!" It can get a little frustrating, and annoying-to be honest. "You expect me to focus on my breath when I'm ready to explode on _________ because they(he/she) _________ to me?!" Fill in the blanks.
One, we always take it personally. Everything is personal. Even that person driving in front of you on the highway who is going too slow or not letting you pass-surely they are purposefully keeping you from getting ahead?! They absolutely are not in their own little world focusing on where they need to be and not paying a lick of attention to you. Now, imagine if you did take a minute to breathe through those thoughts and emotions instead of just acting out? Maybe, just maybe you would realize in that minute that it really is not something to take personally. That those people are not out to get you. This is where taking the time to breathe through it can really, really help you out.
Once you understand the energy flow of the breath and why it is so important to utilize the right type of breathing, it is a game changer. Our survival is dependent on breath. We can survive (possibly) for weeks without food, days without water, but really only seconds without air. Breath is vital to our existence. It also cleanses our cells, calms our nerves and helps circulate our energy properly.
So, what do I mean by the 'right type of breathing?" I am going to keep this as simple as possible. From a Yogic perspective, practicing Pranayama (breath control) is crucial to any Yoga practice. When we start out in life, we breath deep in our bellies. Just watch an infant sleep and you will see what I mean. You can see the rise and fall of their abdomen as they breathe. As we get older we shift to more rapid and shallow chest breathing. Think about your day-to-day activities; how often do you feel your abdomen move when you breathe? Try this:
Just sit for a minute. Breathe how you normally breathe, don't change anything at this point. Now, put a hand on your abdomen and a hand on your chest. Take a big, deep breath in. Which hand moved more? Really, both hands should move, but the hand on your abdomen should move more than the one on your chest. Your breath should fill out your abdomen first and then gently rise up to your chest. It should feel like a small balloon inflating. When you release your breath, it should be slow and gentle, not fast. Try it a few times. Breath in, filling up your abdomen with the breath and feeling a gentle rise on your chest as the breath expands upward. Slowly release your breath. You can release it through your nose or your mouth, whichever way feels better to you right now. Does that make sense? The more you pay attention to how you are breathing, the more you actually begin to utilize breathing for it's therapeutic benefits.
Here's an exercise to try:
It doesn't matter where you are, just take a moment to stop and breathe. Begin by breathing deep into your belly and exhaling slowly. Just focus on that for a couple of breaths. Think about what emotions you are experiencing at the moment. Are you anxious? Frustrated? Tired? Breathe in for a count of 3, hold your breath for a 2 count, and release your breath for a count of 5. Now, imagine breathing in the opposite emotion of what you are feeling. If you are anxious, imagine calm coming in on your in-breath. Let it circulate when you hold your breath. Then, imagine anxiety leaving with the out-breath. You can actually do visualizations by imagining the actual words of the emotions moving in and out of you while you breathe. Try taking 3 breaths like this and then just sit and see how you feel afterward. Take stock of your entire body. Are you more relaxed? Do you feel lighter?
How does this help you in the real world and in the midst of a frustrating moment? Try it sometime. Just stop and breathe. It doesn't have to be the exact exercise from above. Just stop and take a deep belly breath in and blow out whatever frustrations you are experiencing in that moment. Is it magic? No. Does it help? Yes. I encourage you to try to incorporate this type of breathing into your everyday. I think you will find that it does really make a difference! If you are already mindful of your breathing practices, I would love to hear from you about how it has made a difference for you!
If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments below.
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I am a wife, mom, photographer, avid reader, Yoga enthusiast, nature lover, traveler, adventurer, and child of God, who loves to learn about anything and everything and is just trying to help others see the beautiful beings that they are! Welcome to the blog for my website. Here you will find articles about many, various items of interest. I am a Reiki Practitioner, Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, Energy Healer, Astrologer, custom Mala Creator and your go-to for the support that you have been looking for. Thank you for stopping in!