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Mindfulness lesson: the art of breathing
In times of chaos, change, and uncertainty, the breath is our best tool to alleviate stress and anxiety. We always have our breath, but sometimes it takes extra care to fully access its benefits. Your breath is your most important resource. You can’t survive without it.
The breath reflects renewal: opportunity to inhale anew and exhale toxins.
Every moment is a moment of change. Your body is changing on a cellular level faster than you can think. Humans like sameness and comfort. The breath is a pathway to embrace change. Change happens whether you’re ready for it or not and whether you like it or not. Cultivating the length and quality to your breath helps you relax, alleviates pressure, releases toxins in your body, decreases anxiety, and increases calm.
stabilizes the mind/body connection
shifts your thoughts and calms your mind
increases your awareness so you can respond to life from a calmer mindset
re-trains the mind to cope more easily with difficult or scary situations
increases your ability to respond rather than react
increases your attention span and focus
improves your sleep
Mindfulness experiment: noticing how your breath changes in different situations
It’s important to notice the breath when we experience things that are emotionally or physically disagreeable, or when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. It’s at times like this that we tend to hold our breath and distract ourselves.
Notice the quality of your breath throughout your day in different situations. How do they affect your breathing?
The more we pay attention to our breath, the less we hold our breath or resort to breathing quickly and shallowly.
Take a conscious breath at specific moments throughout your day. Set anchors: moments that you associate with a feeling or action. For example, set an anchor to breathe deeply when you check the time, when your phone rings, or before you eat. Set a reminder that tells you to breathe.
Take 28 slow and steady healing breaths a couple of times per day.
When you find yourself holding your breath, ask yourself and notice what you’re holding onto.
Over the next couple of episodes, we’ll be cultivating and stabilizing our breath. The breath is where we begin a stainable meditation practice and therefore it’s one of the most important things we teach.
Mindfulness story: the eternal wind
I always think of the breath as the wind, your eternal wind; breathing the eternal you, the you that has no beginning and no end. The image I often think of is riding on the wings of the breath. Imagine the essence of who you are riding on the wings of your breath. Your body is simply housing the bigger you.