The Art of Breathing

I find it both interesting and completely appropriate that the health difficulties I’ve had this year all relate to breathing. We all know breathing is essential to life. But it plays an even bigger role than we may realize. When we are scared or frustrated, our breathing style changes. Some of us may even hold our breath all together. When we are in awe or in love, our breathing changes yet again. For most of us, paying attention to our breath is a window to our emotions.

For me, I discovered with this rash of colds that I breathe too shallow most of the time. Since my colds all attached the upper respiratory areas, I decided to do a couple of things – one, look at what that region of the body could represent for me spiritually, and two, pay close attention to breathing from my diaphragm.

Let’s take the first one of these – the possible “meaning” of my breathing problems beyond the physical realities of my cold. Now, don’t take me wrong – I know my colds are rooted in my physical being, and I’ve taken measures to heal myself (Nothing like GREAT meds!). But I also believe strongly in mind-body-soul connections. And it was that aspect of this I wanted to explore.

Breathing has often been associated with fear – fear of life, feelings of being overwhelmed, etc. For me, this didn’t ring 100% true, at least not initially. But as I reflected on 2013 and what, if anything, had held me back, I had to admit that there were fears and blockages. Once I acknowledged these blockages, I got to work clearing them; letting them go and focusing on “being”. It has been a good journey thus far, and something I know I must continue to work on.

The second part of what I decided to look at is HOW I am actually breathing: am I taking little puffs of air most of the time, barely utilizing my lung capacity, or am I taking deep relaxed breaths from my diaphragm. As I looked at it, the short breaths (also consistent with “fear” responses) made up the majority of my breathing of late. Sure, the cold was part of the reason, but if i am being honest, I must admit it isn’t the only thing going on. Once I came clean on this fact, the coughing fits and moments of breathlessness I’ve been dealing with changed. No longer did I get more frustrated every time I had them, but I used them as warning signs that I was breathing too shallow. For the past week or so I’ve been making it a point to breathe deeper, slower; to focus on my relaxation. It is helping, along with my meds, and between them both, my breathing issues are improving very quickly.

Our breath – it is important in every way imaginable. Guess it’s time to really pay attention to it!

How is your breathing?

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