Just breathe

We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. ~ Alexander Lowen

Everything goes back to our breath--the flow, the depth and quantity (and quality) of air we bring to our lungs is a gift we give ourselves and will help us stay healthy, focused and feeling beautiful and blissful. In indigenous cultures, the breath is the rockstar.

Mindful breathing is a recipe for healthy. Pausing to take a few deep breaths throughout the day can help you to let go of feelings of sadness, anger, worry and overall stress. Having a bad day? Stop and breathe. Feeling sad? Stop and breathe. Stress getting the better of you? Stop and breathe. A good deep breath will fortify you in mind, in body and in spirt. 

We are so very busy that we forget to breath and spend the day running from A to Z taking short and shallow breaths. Some experts are pointing to this -- a poorly oxygenated brain --  as the root of many diseases.

My friend Belisa Vranich, a breathing coach, travels the nation teaching people how to breathe correctly. She's discovered that due to a host of reasons, from foul smells, to toxic air and stress, many people have "forgotten" how to breathe. The good news is that unless you have your lungs compromised seriously, breathing for health is easy and accessible.

A daily practice of mindful breathing can be transformative and even, transcendental. We take breathing for granted because it  happens naturally and without difficulty. Alexander Lowen in The Voice of the Body, eloquently writes about breathing:

The importance of breathing need hardly be stressed. It provides the oxygen for the metabolic processes; literally it supports the fires of life. But breath as "pneuma" is also the spirit or soul. We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. That is why breathing is the dominant factor in the practice of Yoga.” 

A few practices to get you started:

Start your day with three deep breaths. Sit on comfortably and take three deep breaths.  Breathing deeply and slowly counting to to three as you exhale and inhale. Do this with eyes closed or opened.

Try it standing up, see how you feel, and if you feel the difference. 

Repeat three deep breaths exercise several times a day and especially when you are feeling stress-y, cranky, or otherwise foul.

Do it with your partner, lover, children, in a group before you start a meeting, and watch the energy shift.

Cheers to good breathing.