Your Breathe: Connecting with the Flow of Life
For thousands of years humankind has been observing, connecting with and discussing the aspect of life, the aspect of One’s Self that is our breathe. This has been explored and incorporated into all cultures and philosophies from around the globe and is still to this day one of the main focal points of teaching in practices and modalities such as yoga, meditation, martial arts practices and many other forms of physical, mental and spiritual observation and development.
There is no coincidence to this - the breathe - and our ability to breath, and more importantly our ability to witness and feel our own breathe is an opportunity and a tool that connects us to something very powerful and life changing. It connects us with our own body, a chance to feel the body move in a synchronistic flow as we inhale and exhale, a wave like effect that is consistent and ever present.
It allows us to feel the emotions and states or quality of being that is occurring within that very moment, whether it is a more free and open breathe connected to a state of happiness and joy or, a more shallow and held breathe connected to a state of feeling sad or frustrated.
Either way it is a chance to bring ourselves back into the moment, anchoring ourselves in a state of mindfulness even if it is for just a single breathe.
One of the true gifts that the breathe has to offer to us is that it is an aspect of both the physical and mental bodies (two aspects of the Self). What this means is that the breathe is a physical thing as it uses anatomy and physiology to create movement and sensation within the body. We can stop in any moment and literally feel ourselves breathing. Though this may sound very simple and obvious it can be one of the most grounding and empowering things we can do for ourselves.
The chance to move back into and encompass our own bodies. This in itself is meditation, this is becoming and practicing mindfulness, the act of breathing which you are already doing every day since the day you were born. This can be seen or acknowledged as “Checking In”, taking a moment, closing your eyes (if safe to do so) and just feeling yourself breathe for 5 complete inhalations and exhalations. You can even put one hand on your belly and one hand on your upper chest. This will add an even greater sense of depth and awareness of the body and the breath by adding in your tactile sense of touch.
One of the true gifts that the breathe has to offer to us is that it is an aspect of both the physical and mental bodies.
When we allow our awareness to be focused upon and grounded into the breathe and therefore the body, we give ourselves the chance to begin to not only feel the physical body but also the emotional aspects and feelings that may be occurring within us in any given moment. Each emotional feeling will create an effect upon the breath and nervous system within the body. In short, there is the “fight or flight” response, or the “rest and digest” response. The quality and rhythm of your breath is the difference between feeling peaceful and loving, or feeling anxious and on edge.
There is no judgment towards what it is that we feel and witness within that moment, but that moment itself gives us the ability to make a choice. Either we can continue on with this possibly disharmonious rhythm of the breath, or we can stop it by using the Mental aspect of our selves and choose to take some deep breathes in through the nose and slowly exhaling out the mouth as if we were blowing through a straw.
This is where our ability to use mindfulness (observing what is occurring) can help to create a change within our lives (taking action and making an adjustment or choice).
The quality and rhythm of your breath is the difference between feeling peaceful and loving, or feeling anxious and on edge.
One of my favourite quotes is, “Meditation is a living, breathing experience.” And lucky for us we are always breathing, whether we are aware of it or not. This means that we have a tool, a channel or pathway to move into and anchor a meditation and mindfulness practice into our daily lives.
It does not have to be fancy, It does not have to be complicated or regimental, it is just stopping and feeling your own unique breathe, slowing down and connecting to the flow of Life itself.
What to Do Next
1. Find a time throughout your day where you can remember to stop and take 5 conscious breathes, this can be each time you get into your car, each time you sit down to eat or drink, each time you go to look at your phone. Feel the body breathe just as it is.
2. Use this opportunity to feel your body and what is occurring. How do you feel? How does your breathe feel?Where are you breathing? Where are you not breathing?
3. If you are feeling stress in the body (in the breath or with an emotion) take 5 deep breathes in through the nose filling the lungs completely, then exhale slowly out the mouth as if you were blowing that stress out of the body through a straw. Assess how you feel after these 5 breathes.
4. Connect with that flow, ride the wave and see where it takes you.
Blair is a meditation teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He runs workshops at Yoga Centre Winnipeg, and Radiance Gifts, as well as volunteer work at the Health Sciences Centre. Blair is a Certified Yoga Instructor, and Second Level Certified Usui Reiki Practitioner. He is currently working on becoming a registered massage therapist at Evolve College of Massage Therapy. His business is called ‘Higher Heart Living’ and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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