We are so lucky that breathing is automatic and not something we need to remember to do. If we had to remember to breathe all the time I doubt any of us would get anything accomplished! It would indeed be a full time job. Grounding ourselves in our breath is another story – this takes a lot of work, practice and focus. Today I practice continuing to come back to my breath as a source of stability and strength.
As I am sure many of you have gathered from my post a couple of days ago, I have been going through an emotionally challenging time. The long and short of it is I’ve been seeing someone and we are going through some stuff. It hurts. I am sad and disappointed and at the same time full of so much compassion for both of us. I have a great deal of gratitude for him and what we have been through thus far.
For whatever reason being willing to let go of a relationship no matter the length of time we were together has always been my least favorite type of pain. There is something so intense and raw about these feelings. For the last couple of days I have given myself permission to cry as much as I need to. I know it has to come out and the more I allow for that the quicker I will heal. At some point during my bouts of crying I start to focus on my breath. Crying can be consuming and sometimes I feel totally powerless over it. When I come up for air I breathe into all the pain and start to recenter myself in the moment.
All day long I have opportunities to use my breath as a means to ground myself in the present. Yes this has been a rough week but such is life. Everything is constantly changing and my work is being strong enough to face it head on. If I don’t take a few seconds or minutes to reconnect with my source of life, energy, and power I am sure to be lost and unable to see all sides of a situation no matter if it doesn’t feel good or isn’t to my liking.
Having a daily practice where I focus on my breath has served me very well. Just like my meditation, asana, and journaling practices, breathing has become a daily part of my self-care routine that I cannot imagine living without these days. Going through this rough spot has proven to me that this practice is an essential tool that helps me move through the world with stability, empathy, and a sense of humor.
If you don’t have a regular breathing practice I encourage you to start one. Even if it is just a couple of focused minutes a day. A very basic technique is to breathe in to the count of five and out the the count of five. Take deep, full belly breaths through your nose and breathe out through your nose. Do this sitting down on the floor or on a chair for as many minutes as you can. As with meditation practice you can start with using a timer so you can focus on the exercise and not how long you have been doing it ;) Try it for a month and see if you notice any change in your stress levels, anxiety, outlook on life, ability to handle life situations with more ease and grace. There isn’t any right or wrong benefit here, I have experienced many from an ongoing, daily breathing practice. Give it a shot and let me know what your experiences are.
Goodnight dear ones.
Photo: Marielle Chua