I know the title is a big statement, but let’s consider for a moment how critical breath is.
While children generally breathe faster than adults and our rates of breath change with exertion and emotion, most of us breathe around 30,000 breaths a day. That’s a lot of mostly unconscious inhaling and exhaling.
Breath is life-giving.
If we choose to bring attention and practice to improve our breathing for even a short period each day we enter into a more conscious relationship with our self that ultimately improves our life. And there’s another big statement!
Self-care and well-being don’t just happen, we have to consciously attend to looking after ourselves and that requires skills and practice.
Over time our minds naturally form helpful and unhelpful patterns and many of us lose connection with our bodies – we stop listening to ourselves. We live less consciously and the speed with which we live means it’s hard but possible to change.
There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that shows we can change our beliefs and change how we live in many simple ways.
One of the first ways is to simply start.
If we start doing or acting differently change begins to occur.
By repeating that first ‘doing’ or ‘acting’ again and again we start to feel better and become more aware of ourselves, our potential and our ability to choose.
At its most basic, breath is life, so it’s the logical place to start any life change – big or small.
You can start today simply by making your breath more conscious, if only for one minute. Here’s how
Sit or stand upright and follow the breath from its entry through the nose and the body’s natural expansion of the chest on inhale, all the way through to the exhale and softening of your thorax as your breath moves out through your nasal cavities.
Relax, take your time to notice the small natural pause between your exhalations and inhalations.
Repeat for about eight cycles or rounds of breath.
Notice how you feel after one minute of relaxed, full breathing. Changing the way we breath can change the way we feel.
Many Yoga practitioners understand the criticality of breath and their regular breath practice becomes an act of goodness for their body, mind, and spirit.
Learning and practicing how to breathe well is a life-enhancing choice.
Every time we do our Yoga or Asana (physical postures and movement), our Pranayama (breathing practice) our Meditation, or become more mindful, we become more caring of our well-being.
The benefits of taking control of your well-being are immense – it radiates and grows beyond you and to those around you.
So every time we take care of ourselves, we improve our capacity to take care of others and our community.
We individually begin to change the world.