We all do it.
It defines our life.
Its start. Its end.
It’s automated in our body, until it ceases to be.
We can feel it, but most of us ignore it.
I’m talking about your breath.
Most of us aren’t utilizing our breath to it’s full capacity even though its free + we each desperately need to. And even though I learned the importance of it + the anatomy + physiology of breathing in my massage therapy, pregnancy, labour + delivery support training + my yoga teacher training, I wasn’t intentionally using my breath either.
Until last winter.
I slipped + fell, violently striking my head on the ice + sustaining (thankfully) a mild concussion. In the minutes, hours, days + weeks of healing that followed, through panic, upset, terror, headache, blurred vision + very scary dizziness, my breath was ALL that I had. It was all that I could manage + it was all that I could control. It was in those moments that I fell madly + deeply back in love with the intentionality + healing benefits of various breathwork practices.
Most of us underestimate the potential of intentional breathing + the body’s innate intelligence + wisdom. Our body is it’s own self-healer if we tap into it. So lets start with breath.
Your breath can change your life:
It can shift your nervous system from the fight/flight/overstimulation of life + the last number of years + begin to return you to a state of calm + restore;
It can guide you to release areas of physical tightness + improve digestion + excretion;
It can lessen pain, inflammation + re-energize you mentally + physically when you are feeling low; + in addition to numerous other benefits, it can open opportunities to journey your life’s emotional healing paths.
If you’re willing to give intentional breathwork a try, what follows is a simple, beginner technique to get you started:
For this exercise:
Come to be in a quiet place + just become mindful of how you feel in this now moment.
You may choose to place your left hand on your heart centre + your right hand on your abdomen.
If it feels safe to do so, you may also choose to close your eyes.
Begin by just becoming aware of your breath (where is it in the body, how does it feel).
Then slightly deepen it so your breath is dropping into your belly for a few breaths.
When it feels comfortable to do so, shift into an inhale for a count of four;
A hold for a count of seven;
Then an exhale for a count of eight.
Repeat several times, listening to your body for when it feels complete + then return to your new breathing rhythm.
Become aware of the shift in how you feel now from when you began. Different right?
It’s magic! But it’s not, it just your breath.
It’s also free, easy + available to you every moment of the day. So I invite you to intentionally use it more regularly throughout your day to benefit your health, wellness + vitality!