I admit it - I took breathing for granted for a large portion of my life. It was one of those bodily functions that just happened. I didn't think about it. And I certainly didn't pay much attention to it. Then I stumbed upon yoga and meditation and now I'm more aware - and appreciative - of my breath than ever.
Ever since I've become more in tune with and aware of my breath and make it conscious on a daily basis, I find it funny that everyone spends so much money on a variety of stress-reducing products when we already have the key to stress release right within us - the breath! When I notice myself being too caught up in my thoughts or getting stressed out, I focus on my breath. I immediately feel a feeling of peace and focus.
I can't believe that I ever took my breath for granted now! It's such a glorious thing - something that you should be extremely grateful for, not something that you simply take for granted. The breath is healing. And the best part of it all - the breath is always there for you. It's just waiting for you to tap into its power.
Just the other day I found myself getting quite angry as a traffic light I was approaching turned from amber to red. Yep, I let the curses fly. I whined that this was one of those "long lights" and anxiously checked my watch. My jaw clenched right up and my muscles got tight. Then I stopped and started focusing on my breath. In and out. In and out. A feeling of calm drifted over me, and my muscles relaxed. And the light seemed to take only seconds to change (in reality, that particular traffic light only takes about a minute to change).
I experience more of the same in my yoga practice. I was having some problems with headstand a while back. I found myself focusing on everything but my breath. When I finally settled down and concentrating on my breathing, the pose became effortless.
Hmmmm...cursing in frustration of peace and serenity? I'll go with the peace and serenity any day!
Yoga Journal has a great article on breathing that you might find helpful. Check it out.
Be in the breath! Namaste.
By Diane DeGiorgio Cesa