Have you noticed that you have fewer moments when you “have time” to breathe? I don’t mean that automatic breath that sustains you throughout the day as you run from the house to the job either. Even if that job is based in your home, that automatic breath is there to see you through. As thankful as we are for the element of air that sustains us we rarely take the time to commune with it consciously. We are often too stretched for time, too occupied, too busy and too entranced in the rhythm of our lives to even notice. We must make space to honour the element of air because it is part of the foundation of our life. Before practicing any mindful breathing lets’ talk about what air is.
Here is what Wikipedia had to say about air:
Air is the Earth’s atmosphere. Air around us is a mixture of many gases and dust particles. It is the clear gas in which living things live and breathe. It has an indefinite shape and volume. It has no color or smell. It has mass and weight. It is a matter as it has mass and weight.
Air is a mixture of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and very small amounts of other gases. There is an average of about 1% water vapour. Animals need the oxygen in the air to live. In the human body, the lungs give oxygen to the blood, and give back carbon dioxide to the air. Plants need the carbon dioxide in the air to live. They give off oxygen that humans can breathe again.
We can see how vital air is to our existence yet we rarely create space to connect to it consciously. Here are some mindful ways that you can connect consciously with this element.
•Begin each day with 10 deep and conscious breaths of golden air. Yes, see golden air rushing into your nostrils when you inhale. Feel it on the skin and the tiny hairs inside your nose.
•Take one deep breath before you answer your ringing phone through out the day.
•Take a slow breath before answering loaded questions.
•When you reach a red light or congested traffic, take 5 conscious breaths with your eyes open and alert.
•Before you begin your lunch meal take 3 steady and rich breaths.
•After you re-enter your home you may want to take 3 breaths of air.
•Right before closing your eyes to sleep for the night. Allow time for you to inhale relaxation and exhale memories of irritation you may have gathered throughout the day. Continue this pattern until if becomes difficult to think of stressful moments or up to 20 breaths. This can be very helpful in causing you to fall asleep faster.
You may also choose to add conscious breaths, before opening your email account, starting your daily assignment or any other moment you feel could benefit from a break. Audio like The Ultimate Guided Hypno Reiki Mediation may also be used as it provides guided breaths combined, with visualization and affirmations.
Why conscious breathing?
1. Breath = Life. Literally. If I come up to you and close your nose, you will fight for breath. Our energy level depends in a big part on our breath. The better (fuller) you breathe, the more energy you will have. Taking deeper breaths will bring in more oxygen in to the body and improve your energy levels. Think oxygen cafe!
2. Deep Breaths = Less Stress and Better Digestion. Slow deep breaths help to activate parasympathetic nervous system which is when the body gets the chance to recuperate, regenerate, and heal. Very important to help keep a healthy immune system and get out of our “flight or flight state”. Those of you suffering from poor digestion, bloating, or constipation will benefit from learning how to put your body into “rest and heal” state and activate parasympathetic nervous system. This is the only state when your body can digest food efficiently.
3. Deep Breaths = Less Inflammation! There is a lot of talk about how cancer and many diseases can only live in an acidic body. Deep breathing is said to reduce the acidity level of the body making it more alkaline reducing your risk. I think it is partially because it reduces the stress levels which when elevated can increase the acidity levels.
4. Deep breath = More Awareness. The more awareness you have in the present moment, the more likely you are to connect with your intuition or internal teacher. Your body knows how and what to feed itself to be healthy, how much and how often to move, and how much to rest. It is a matter of learning to listen to that voice and understand it. The slower you breathe, the more likely you are to hear that internal teacher. When you breathe slowly, it is almost impossible to overeat or to hurt yourself exercising.
5. Slower Breaths = Better Relationships. Most relationships would be better if people were less reactive. Can you imagine if instead of saying something mean, you were able to mentally step back and chill before talking? Wouldn’t that be nice? The state of your mind affects the breath, the reverse is true as well. When you are angry are breath is fast and shortened. When you are relaxed, your breath is slow and complete (hopefully!). The next time you are arguing with someone try taking longer deeper breaths. Notice how that can quickly reduces anger and allows you to look at the situation from a new perspective.
A good thing about breathing: you can do it anywhere and anytime and it does not cost anything! Even 5 minutes of slow deep conscious breathing once or twice a day can make a huge difference. When you catch yourself breathing a shallow breath into your chest or not allowing yourself to complete exhales, slow down. Take a few deep breaths to remind yourself what it should be like. If you are wanting to really dive in. I suggest you book a mindfulness class with me so we can explore the three part breath including breathing techniques to remove, stimulate or activate particular energies in the body. After all the element of air is one of our 5 bodies and needs to be worked on in order to live a more balanced and fulfilled life.
Sources; Spinachandyoga.com, Wikipedia.
Teleka Turiya Sage