“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
The average person takes anywhere from 17,000 to 30,000 breaths per day. Despite it happening so many times, breathing is mostly an unconscious process. In other words, breathing is something that happens without us having to think about it.
What happens in our bodies when we breathe is remarkable. This finely-tuned process allows each cell in the body to receive oxygen and nourishment while at the same time expelling things not needed by the body. This process is quite literally life sustaining.
Beyond nourishing cells and supporting life on the most foundational level, so much more happens when we breathe beyond the physical level.
Try it… pause… take a slow breath in… feel the way the air moves through your nostrils, to your throat and into your lungs… take a slow deep breath out…feel the warmth of your breath in your nostrils or on your upper lip. Now do that a few more times…
How do you feel? Has anything changed?
Our breath is both an automatic function of the body, and one that our mind can control. We do not have control over all of our bodily functions, but we do have some control over our breath. Breathing intentionally can make a tremendous shift in how we feel. Slowing and calming the breath activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for resting, relaxing, nourishing and healing.
Try it again… pause… take a slow breath in…. take a slow breath out… how do you feel?
This is an invitation for you to familiarize yourself with the power of the breath and to become curious about your breathing patterns and habits. Do you regularly notice your own breathing? Are there times when you notice that your breathing is quite shallow? Do you ever catch yourself holding your breath? How is your breathing affected by stress or other emotions like excitement, fear, anger or sadness?
As you move through each day, we invite you to pay attention to your breath more often. The breath is an anchor that is available to you in each moment to support your awareness, your mood and your physical, mental and emotional well-being.