Have you taken a deep breath recently? Do you notice your breath as you go about your day? Do you notice when it’s shallow and fast? Do you notice when it’s deep and even? What is it like when you’re relaxed? What is it like when you’re anxious? There’s a connection between how you feel and your breath. There’s also a connection between your breath and the present moment. Have you noticed these connections?
What does your breath say about you?
For me, it’s an integral part of my life in more ways than one. Of course, I need to breathe in order to live and without it, my body would simply shut down. I need the oxygen to fuel my muscles and make my physical body work properly. It’s a basic element of life.
However, there’s so much more to my breath. To me, it’s an indication of what is happening in the present moment. Am I distracted or anxious? It’ll show up in how I breathe. If I’m calm or relaxed, that will also show up in how I breathe.
Just as life events can have an affect on it, the reverse is also true. I can change how I’m reacting to a situation just by changing my breath. If I’m in a stressful situation and I need to find a little calm in my life, then I can take slow deep breaths in order to change my perspective on the situation. The opposite can happen as well. If I’m feeling lethargic, I can energize my body with a series of short, fast breaths.
Changing your breath can change your outlook.
Breath is an indicator of what is happening in the present moment. It connects your mind and body. Thus, your breath is a part of who you are at this very moment.
Take a deep breath. How did it feel? Notice what’s happening to you, within you and around you. Focus on right now for just a moment and connect more deeply to your life. You might be surprised at what is going on. Do you need to change something or is everything just as it needs to be already? Did you really mean what you said or did? Do you actually want to continue what you’ve already started?
All great questions to ask yourself when you focus on the present moment.
Take a deep breath to come back to the present moment.
In yoga and yoga therapy, we talk about the breath a lot.
In a yoga class, I might advise you to use your breath to help calm your body or to let go of your stress. In a yoga therapy session, I will use the breath in order to bring you back to the present moment so that you can connect to what’s happening right now. In both uses, your breath is about your awareness. Are you aware of what’s happening? Can that breath help to bring you to even more awareness?
I’ll give you an example of listening to the breath and using the breath to make a change.
In my daily life, I drive a lot. Often, I end up in traffic. The longer that I sit in traffic, the more irritable I can become. Now, as I sit and wait for traffic to clear, I sometimes notice that my breath is becoming faster and more shallow. My body might feel tighter and my anxiety is rising. If I’m paying attention to my breath, I’ll notice that it has changed and then I’ll notice that my body is reacting to the current situation.
You can change what’s happening.
What is somewhat unique about your breath is that after it’s alerted you that something is happening in your current situation, you can then use it to make a change. So, in the situation where I’m sitting in traffic getting all worked up, I can then make a conscious effort to deepen and slow it down. When I do this one thing, then my body will begin to relax and with my breath I’m sending the message that all will be okay. I’ll be able to remember that I’ll get to my destination when the traffic clears. In most instances being a little later than expected is not that big of a deal. So, my breath will lead the way in helping me to realize that yes traffic is backed up, but all is not lost.
So, what does my breath say about me?
Actually, quite a lot.
It tells me when I’m needing a change and it tells me when everything is wonderful just as it is. It’s both an indicator of my current emotional state and also an instigator of my next emotional state. How amazing is that?
How about you?
Do you listen to your breath? Have you paid attention to what it’s trying to tell you? Do you need to make a change? Or, is everything just right in this present moment? If you’re not sure, then take a deep breath & It’ll tell you what’s happening right now. You just have to practice a little awareness.
Your yoga practice doesn’t have to be difficult in order to be helpful and yes this is considered part of your yoga practice. Connecting to the present moment is a lifelong skill that you can use to improve every aspect of your day.
Give it a try and let me know how it’s going for you.
Remember… you’re never too old to live healthier & happier!
Love & hugs,