Breathing. We all do it, all day and all night. Most of the time we don’t even think about it as it’s controlled by the medulla oblongata in our brain stem. Breathing is one of the few essential bodily functions we have some conscious control over.
Learning to be conscious of our breathing helps us in a variety of ways:
Athletes learn to breathe for maximum oxygen intake and enhanced performance.
Musicians practice their breathing to produce and control sound.
Yogis use the breath in many ways, including to ‘feel’ their body into a pose.
Meditators focus on their breathing to quieten the mind as well as the body.
Even if none of these pursuits appeal to you, there are many benefits to be gained from learning some simple breathing techniques or practices.
Hands On Your Heart is one of my favourites as it brings me back to my heart and calms me in seconds, no matter what has been going on. You can do it anywhere! Try it and see how it feels for you.
- Sit, stand or lie with your back straight but relaxed. Legs should be uncrossed and feet flat if you’re seated.
- Place your hands, one on top of the other, over your heart space. (Aim for the middle of your chest, at heart level. Yes, this will be on your bosom!)
- Close your eyes softly and take in a slow, deep breath through your nose. See if you can feel love and warmth radiating from your hands to your heart.
- When your lungs are full, allow a little pause but don’t hold your breath. Exhale gently through your nose, letting any tension in your body flow out with the breath.
- Repeat another two times.
- Gently open your eyes.
How do you feel?
With much love