There is a basic relationship between breathing and life energy, or ‘chi’. It holds the key to calmness, physical health, and clear thinking. Breathing is the key to meditation. When we slow and deepen our breath, we assist our digestion, begin to relax, slow down the heart, help balance our blood pressure, sleep deeper, increase our energy and our concentration. Breathing can literally heal our diseases, and increase performance levels in sports or the arts. Breathing connects us to ourselves, and to our Higher Power, or God.
Have you noticed when we are stressed, we often hold our breath? And when we move into fight or flight responses, our breathing becomes very rapid and shallow? When we relax, we breathe deeply, and sometimes exhale in big sighs. Breathing in a relaxed way feels good! Breathing integrates the body and the mind.
Controlled, directed breathing combined with movement and activity actually lessens the aging process. Instead of stagnant, toxin filled cells, stiff muscles and joints, and low oxygenation, breathing increases enlivened, cleared up, oxygenated cells that work effectively. Our energy levels increase.
When breathing in a relaxed manner during stretching, our muscles can actually lengthen, and release stress build up. Stretching to our limit, while doing relaxed breathing will lessen pain over time. Stretching our limits physically can also stretch our limits spiritually, emotionally. and psychologically. When patiently, consistently used, focused breathing can be one of our personal healing tools.
1. Inhale slowly and deeply, several times, letting the belly fill with air, then slowly release with the exhale. Four counts inhaling, four counts exhaling.
2. As you inhale, focus the breath into a place in the body that holds tension or pain. Hold the air in that space for a few seconds.
3. While slowly exhaling, counting to four or more, visualize the tension or pain flowing out of the body. Give it an exit place out of the body. It can be the feet, or the nose, or the navel.
4. Complete your relaxation visualization with several cleansing exhalations, using the “Ahhhh” sound.
5. Scan your body from the crown of your head, down through your neck, spine, hips, legs and feet. Notice how calm and relaxed you feel. Notice where you would like to focus more breath and oxygen for deeper relaxation.
6. Repeat this exercise whenever you feel stressed, tired, or need to center your thoughts. This is an excellent POWER BOOST for your work day, and can be done anywhere.
7. Relaxation breathing is especially effective when intense emotions arise. Use the breath to calm and clear negative emotions, replacing them with life affirming emotions.
Book to Read: “Breathe In and Breath Out” by James E. Loehr, and Jeffrey A Migdow, M.D