and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse.
To master breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds.
Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by other means,
the method of watching the breath should always be used.
Thich Nhat Hanh
How are you breathing? Right now? Do I seem to repeat myself? Have you seen this another lesson? Yes, I do repeat myself. Some lessons bear repeating. We keep doing it until we do it right. Paying attention to your breathing is one of these lessons.
We have already talked about this basic function of living — breathing — and how there are subtleties of breathing that often escape our attention. How we breathe has a lot to do with how we feel and how we live our lives. For example, if we breathe shallowly, up in the chest, we may be missing the depth of our being and our lives. Or, if we hold our breath and stop breathing completely, we may be holding back our feelings and emotions. The breath is a great teacher — if you take the time to notice.
We want to experience the pleasure of breathing. The richness and joy of breathing. The breathing is right there with you, all the time. You can study your breath and learn a lot about yourself. Remember, you are learning and witnessing, not judging or using breath as a way to castigate yourself. “Oh, look at what a bad breather I am.”
Don’t go there, into judging. Not ever.
HOW ARE YOU BREATHING THESE DAYS?
Here is a simple way to watch your breath:
When you breathe, does it seem that the breath is jumpy, agitated, rough? Or it is soft and smooth? Be a connoisseur of your breath quality. If your breath is soothing, then your mind and body are being soothed as well.
- Do you hold your breath between the inward and outward breath? If so, try to keep it going, ever-moving like a wheel turning.
- Are you aware of breathing all the way into the belly or do you hold it high up near the throat? Drop it down and feel the lower torso expand.
- Give your self a cue to keep checking your breath throughout the day. At a certain time, (e.g. every half hour) or in a specific location, (e.g. when I take a sip of water).
- When you have a few minutes, try counting your breath. Inhaling, slowly and smoothly, to one count and out to the same count. Try five and five, or more or less. Increase the number over time.
- Then try this count: Five on the inhalation and ten on the exhalation. Exhaling is the easier and requires less effort than inhaling.
- Do this “breathing to a count” for several rounds. You will begin to notice how much more the breath responds to you.
It is amazing to think that something as simple as breathing can help to guide us in our lives. But it does! See what happens when you and your breath work in tandem — all towards a lighter and happier YOU. Remember that all of these practices are meant as acts of love — for yourself and for the energy you hold and exude.
With love and namaste, Deanne
For more, go to www.deannemincer.com and visit me on Facebook