How well do you know your breath?
The same breath that has been known as a gateway to the present moment, the unconscious mind, the body/mind connection, and many other mystical access points.
But for starters, just get used to the notion of becoming familiar with your breath. It's always happening, always with us, but we take it for granted. Like the water in our house, or the engine in our car, we generally only notice it when it doesn't work correctly.
Getting to know your breathing on a regular basis is like becoming friends with your lungs. This will feel strange at first, as would any new relationship - so much to learn! So many apprehensions, ”Will we get along or even have anything in common? Maybe it's best just to do our own things and not get too involved with each other.” Try starting with this: “Hey thanks for doing all that with the oxygen and keeping me alive and all.. How’s that going?”
There is so much to explore with your breath once you get over the awkward getting to know each other stage.
You may begin to realize that the way you're breathing is directly affecting the way you feel, and the way you feel also impacts your breath. This a continual feedback loop similar to smiling. When we are happy, we smile, and when we smile, guess what - we feel happy!
The real magic starts to happen when you realize you can control these mechanisms.
You can gain access to some of your body’s otherwise "uncontrollable" feelings or activity. It can become easier to relax when in a stressful situation, or when it's time to go to sleep. You can energize yourself for an event, or to start the day. You can develop more awareness of when you tend to tense up, how you respond when angry, frustrated, or anything else that throws you off center, and recalibrate with a nice full breath to keep your energy flowing optimally.
There are countless techniques that have been used to hack into the mainframe of the body and brain via breathing.
The simplest way to practice conscious breathing is to sit and pay attention to your breath. This is also one of the most basic forms of meditation. Discomfort may arise, but do your best to focus on your breath, and notice how your body and mind respond.
Like anything new, start slow and work your way up to longer periods of time. The purpose of this exercise is just to become more aware and familiar with the breathing process that sustains your life day and night. Gradually, the awareness and focus you develop will take you to new heights, allow you to access more of your soul, and deepen your understanding of yourself and others.
You and your breath will make a great team, I know it. You've already been through so much together, so go ahead and open those lines of communication a bit more and explore what is possible when you connect with your breath.
Written by Dr. Jason Cooper