Breath, A Daily Meditation
Many days we go without taking a moment to breathe, without reminding ourselves to stop, sit down and breathe. We then experience stress, hyper ventilation, high anxiety, anger, frustration, impatience and impulsive behavior and wonder why we are so upset and stressed. I speak about this from experience. It wasn’t until I began having difficulty breathing that I even started listening to my body, observing my breath and realized its importance; for lung health and total body health.
Breathing seems to be an automatic function, right? Just as the beating of our heart and the circulation of our blood. It isn’t until one of these natural functions malfunction that we realize that although these functions naturally occur in our bodies, they don’t just remain that way. As healthy, conscious , self-aware human beings, our optimal health is maintained when we make an effort to keep a balanced life that is authentic to our personal capacity. When we are balanced in our diet, work to leisure ratio, exercise, etc., and when we are self aware of our needs for rest and quiet, the natural functions of our body such as breathing, circulation, digestion and more, are able to work effectively. Breathing is not a function we can pass up and if you observe closely, you will see that your breath reflects the way you lead your life.
Last year I was doing too much. I had five million projects going at once, five million people waiting on me, five million deadlines, five million people to hang out with and five million parties to go to. My goal was to take five million dance classes and to spend five million hours with my boyfriend and friends. I was doing too much and not taking a single moment to myself. One night, as I was driving to my boyfriend’s house rather than going home and resting after a long day of work, a traffic ridden drive to an intensive acrobatic dance class, an intensive acrobatic dance class and another long drive back to my boyfriend’s house, I found myself hyperventilating in the car, not being able to breathe. I was dizzy. I felt I was going to black out. My vision was blurry and felt like I was leaving my body as I drove my car on a fast chaotic Los Angeles freeway. I showed up to my boyfriend’s house lightheaded, blurry eyed, scared and lucky to be alive.
Breath, A Reflection of the Way You Live
A conversation about my breath began as well as a look at my life. I realized I was doing too much. I was over committed, I over compensated for others, I over worked myself and over extended my body. I was overly ambitious and over promised things to people. I was flailing, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, chasing everything that came into my mind. I was not giving myself the room or space to breathe, to relax, and to take me time. I could not get a deep breath in, neither could I engage very deeply with my commitments and friendships, what to speak of myself.
Fast forward to the present moment and here I am, learning about breath, practicing pranayama and learning that my breathing pattern is directly associated with my living pattern. When my breathing is erratic, shallow, unstable and restless, it most likely means my life is following a similar trajectory. The good news however, is that my body’s response and difficulty with breathing brought to my attention that the way I was living my life needed a shift. I needed to book less activities, make less promises, chase after less, do less and think about everyone else less. I needed to spend more time focused on me, my health, those moments of silence, time in nature and using my breath to remain calm. I saw that I faced challenges like they were the end of the world. I felt defeated when challenges came up and was impatient when it came to dealing with challenges.
Having a Breath Practice Changes Your Life
Having a regular breathing practice has allowed me to remain more calm amidst the challenges. I think a bit more before I speak or react. I have a morning breathing practice that I am dedicated to and I take my time to find solutions to problems. My
relationship with my friends and boyfriend have improved. My communication has become more clear and focused and so have my projects and intentions. My breath is much deeper and my integrity is much stronger. I am better able to keep up with my talk and I am more upfront about my limitations, what I can commit to and what I desire and need in life. Being mindful of my breath has drastically changed my life and continues to do so.
Breath drives everything that happens in your body and the sooner you become aware of the way you’re breathing and the way you react to stress or anxiety, and the sooner you can begin a practice that will help you calm your breath and nervous system, the sooner your life will begin to flow smoothly and successfully. I encourage you to take a look at our posts for the month of July to learn about both the positive and negative affects that breathing can have on your body and health.
You may also enjoy reading:
- Lung Health Explained: The Five-Fold Path to Better Respiration
- Kapalabhati Breathing
- Listening to Your Body