We, modern human beings have become extremely resilient survival machines. We also have become really good at creating and adopting some unhealthy habits.
The point is, undoing bad habits takes longer than creating them. The good news is however, that this process can ultimately be a rewarding one. A positive experience that is cleansing, purifying and decluttering to both body and mind.
Well, think about your breath for a moment. Just think about it (the moment you start thinking about your breath, observe it, examine it and follow it with your awareness, you are practicing meditation, you may be happy to know).
Pay attention to where you feel it, whether it feels deep or shallow, smooth or rugged, cold, warm, or a little bit of both. Your breath and its qualities change depending on your physical and emotional state. This is the nature of breath and it only highlights its obvious connection to both the body and the mind.
You may have noticed that whenever you start thinking about your breath, you do “take a deep breath”. You focus on inhaling, suck your belly in (to look slim, perhaps?) and thrust your chest out and your breath lasts only a couple of seconds (you have no time for more). Exhaling is probably as rapid, if not overlooked.
Most of us have learned to breathe this way.
When we are born, we invite breath into our body with open lungs and open bellies. Have you ever watched a baby breathe? Over time however we have excluded abdominal muscles from the breathing circuit, so they no longer assist our breath, just to become weaker. Our breath no longer reaches the lowest lobes of the lungs, which makes the breath shallow. This has a profound effect on our health because without using lungs and abdominals to their full capacity the flow of oxygen is restricted, the diaphragm doesn’t work efficiently and the thoracic spine (where the ribs connect with vertebrae) becomes stiff and even less flexible than it naturally is. The damage goes beyond poor posture and physical tension because inefficient breathing contributes also to emotional instability and mental unease.
If you have taken the time to read the above, then you certainly have time to read what is written below:
take “a deep breathe out”.
Yes, breathe out. Exhale and hear yourself breathe. Let your breath out and let your lungs become empty. Empty your lungs and feel that your belly relaxes and gently draws in.
Breathe out until you feel empty. Breathe out and pause for a second. Pause before new breath arises from that newly discovered moment of stillness where there is no movement, no breath, just stillness.
You don’t hold that breath out, you just notice the pause that gives you an opportunity to look in and celebrate for a split second a sense of stillness. Trust, that a new breath will arise spontaneously from that space, expanding the lungs and the belly with a generous, joyful breath.
Let that tide of outbreath be cleansing and purifying. Maybe visualise that with every exhalation old breath, old thoughts and old attitudes dissolve away. Simply breathe out.
That will not change your life in a day.
But it will create space for new breath, new thoughts, new perspective.
In such space you gain attributes of clarity and detachment so that neither the stress of modern life, nor even the British weather, can throw you off balance.
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