- There is something you are always doing that affects your level of happiness and peace and has a great impact on your health. Take a look at the number of times you do this one thing that is so significant to your well-being:
16 times a minute , 960 times per hour, 23,040 per day, 8,409,600 times per year
Those are some of the numbers given for an average person. If you have not already surmised, we are talking about breathing. It is a given that we breathe all our lives, but the question becomes one of how we breathe.
As a yoga teacher, I learned this maxim: If you can control your breath, you can control your life. That’s a pretty hefty statement. In fact, there is an entire science devoted to breathing. It is called pranayama, and we who practice yoga learn to do a myriad of breathing exercises. What is important here is that, simply by learning some easy ways to alter your breathing, you can be less stressed and happier in your everyday life. So here we go!
LESSON FIVE : THE BREATH
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk who has written countless books, made this statement. The breath is his anchor. Think about that. You can always return to the breath. It is with you all the time. We can learn to use it as a tool to alter the quality of our lives. None of this is difficult. You simply have to be aware of it and use it. You will feel and notice change. I promise! For beginners, here are a few pointers:
Pick a time when you can be quiet, even if only for a few minutes. Pay attention to your breathing.
You want to be breathing in and out through your nose, not your mouth.
Is the breath steady — in other words, is it even? Inhalation and exhalation? If the exhalation is a bit longer, that is okay.
Do you pause and hold your breath between breaths? Try to keep it going, like a constantly moving wheel. Inhale, then exhale.
- Is the breath jumpy, jerky, agitated? Think of each breath as smooth and silky. Flowing with ease.
- Keep breathing this way whenever you think of it.
Those are some breathing basics. You will find that doing this “practice” often will be calming to you. It will take you out of the world for a little while and put you into the present moment. That is always good.
If you feel ready to add this next idea, see how it feels.
- While you are breathing like this, repeat our first affirmation — I love myself completely NOW. Coordinate it with the breath, as if it were swimming on the wave of the breath.
- Take lesson two and do a little body scan. I bet you will see that your body relaxed right along with the breathing .
- Add lesson three, if you are focusing on the breath, you are unlikely to be worried about anything.
- And you are being quiet, so lesson four is in effect.
How easy is that? In a few days, I will make a few more suggestions. Remember, you don’t have to spend much time on this, but you do need to start to change patterns of breathing for a more joyous life. Let me know how it works for you. Even seasoned yoga people could use this reminder from time to time. We all can use a gentle reminder from time to time.
When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.
With love and namaste, Deanne
For more thoughts: www.deannemincer.com