Just Breathe

(c) Carl Studna

Most of us take the act of breathing for granted, going about our days accomplishing our tasks with little or no thought given to our breath. Why would we? We’re not taught in school to pay attention to our breath as that would appear to have no academic value. Few of us were raised in a home environment that encouraged breath awareness. Yet, the act of taking full, gentle breaths in and out throughout our day can be one of the most beneficial and simple actions to relax our body and mind.

For many, the condition of stress has become an unspoken agreement in Western culture. Rather than seeing this wound up, tense feeling as a problem, we simply adapt to these constrictive feelings and often create unconscious permission to operate in our lives from this hyped-up purview throughout each day.

Stress is not a natural condition. As we allow ourselves to release into the perfect rhythm and flow of our breath’s innate guidance, we return to our inherent equilibrium.  It’s so simple, yet our Western conditioning tells us that it’s more important to place our attention on life’s busyness first, and relax later! Even such practices as yoga and meditation, if not integrated into our moment-to-moment experience can be interpreted as another act of doing to become still. It’s imperative that we integrate these practices into each moment’s thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindful breathing can serve most effectively in bridging the act of doing with the art of being.

Right now, are you attentive to your breath? Is there an ease with your in-breath, fully allowing your diaphragm to open and embrace the vital life force of oxygen? Are you giving yourself the time to fully receive this perfect gift? If not, you have the opportunity in this moment to foster a greater awareness of this natural rhythm that’s encoded within your body’s innate wisdom.

Choose to deepen in this daily awareness and witness your body begin to unwind. As you trust that it’s okay to be fully free with your in-breath and out-breath, your thoughts and beliefs will, in turn, begin to loosen any constrictive grip and you’ll find yourself opening to clearer choices that provide your grandest of balance and fulfillment.

Just breathe…..your mind and body will follow.

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