Did you know that you carry with you a magical healing gift everywhere you go? It's a superpower that every human has.
It sounds crazy, but it is true. It has been with you since the moment you entered this world, and it will be with you until you leave…. once your draw your last…breath.
Yes, the magic I am speaking of is your breath. Prana. Life-Force.
Perhaps this sounds crazy, but I invite you to feel the power of this magical force that resides within you.
Yes, without our breath we would live for no more then a few minutes, but I am talking about how it can serve us when we consciously connect with our breath.
Most of our breathing is done automatically by our body. We don’t tell it to breathe, it just knows. (Our bodies are so brilliant!)
Have you ever noticed that sometimes we control our breathing, even without trying. Say, when you are angry or scared you might catch yourself holding your breath.
When we hold our breath our bodies tense, our mind starts to dance with thoughts of fear, and our heart rates go up.
(Okay, I am going to get a bit science geeky for a moment).
Interestingly, all of these actions are the same things that happen when we are in a stress response, which is controlled by our sympathetic nervous system. You may know it is the “Fight, Flight or Freeze.” When our bodies go into this stress response our blood vessels constrict, increasing our heart rate, hormones are released (epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, and insulin), and our digestion slows down. This all happens when we perceive a threat.
Sometimes that threat can be real, say a car slams on their brakes in front of you, and you instantly fear that you are going to hit them as you too slam on your brakes.
However, stress can be something that you don’t necessary see. It isn’t a lion chasing you, it's more likely a ruminating thought or belief, “I am fat, I am afraid of food, this food will make me fat, I am worthless, I am never going to get that job, I am going to be alone for ever.”
Our bodies weren’t built to live in a constant state of stress. Small snip it’s here and there, yes. On a daily basis, no.
(Back to the magic of our breath, with a bit of science.)
By tapping into our breath, by bringing our awareness to it and by slowing it down we invite our bodies to slip into a relaxation response, or the “Rest and Digest” parasympathetic nervous system. As our heart rates decline, and our muscles relax, our body is better able to digest and metabolize our food, and our mind has the space to think about what is real, not perceived.
Breathing is an action. It takes energy, it creates energy, and it IS energy.
Have you ever noticed how you feel after you let out a sigh? A little bit more relaxed. You are releasing energy.
Therefore, if our breath is energy, we have the ability to change the energy we feel in our bodies just by connecting with our breath.
How do you connect with your breath?
The next time you catch yourself feeling tense in your body, or your mind caught in a whirl wind of stories, allow your breath to bring you back. To bring you home. To your center.
Maybe you start to notice situations where you feel tense, your heart is racing, your are clenching your teeth, jaw or fists, the voice in your head that has mostly negative things to say is screaming at you…. Notice those moments: when you sit down to a meal, while you are driving a car, when you are in a room full of strangers, when you are on an airplane, when you are standing in front of a room about to give a speech, before an exam, at the starting line of a race……
Allow your breath to bring you back...
Close your eyes.
Don’t deepen your breath, just slow down the rate in which you bring air into your body, and you let air release from your body. Maybe count to five on the in breath and five on the out breath. Imagine you are inviting in the calm state you desire on the inhale, and release your stressful state on the exhale.
Do this 10 times.