We loved this recent post by Rebecca Laser on her blog stillplayinwithit. We hope you enjoy it, and be sure to check out her blog!
I am sitting in a Starbucks on Sunset BLVD this am. To get here, I had to weave around the detour for a race happening on Hollywood BLVD. Apropos for today’s blog…
On your marks…Get set…GO!!!!
First thing that we encounter as we leave our mother’s body? Breath. Last thing we experience as we take off to our next space? Breath. And every moment in between? Breath.
But we must also believe in it’s power to support our goals and dreams. What I mean is this: Look at your breath as your building block. You want to increase your pace, speed or endurance in exercise, practice focusing on your breath. You want to decrease anxiety or stress levels, practice. You want to be more attentive in your meditation practice and enjoy deeper thoughts, practice connecting to your vitality, your breath. Like the one listed below…
Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey:
“If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”
Step one: Breathe with intention.
What is intention? One view of intention: higher consciousness thought. When you hold an intention you actually call forth your conscious awareness at a present level.That is it. We, as humans, as spiritual beings, have the ability to find our present moment, our presence, in a breath. We have the POWER to calm our nerves through a breath. We have the ability to increase our heart rate at a pace that our breath can assist in reaching. We have the design to expand lung capacity and maintain a steady heart rate by…breathing.
Let’s try it together: (Come on. Just do it.) Inhale through your nose to a count of 10, or 11 or 50 for heavens sake…just pick a slow paced inhale… slowly, as slow as you possibly can. NOW STOP. Before you exhale, which we normally do quite quickly from this point, become exquisitely aware and now…exhale…AS slowly and consciously as you inhaled. Get grounded again before you inhale…now consciously inhale again, SLOWLY. Maybe give your breath a color. Visualize this colored air oxygenating your body from the base of your spine, up through each vertebrae, filling your lungs, enlarging your rib cage…this vibrant breath swirling around your heart space and moving up into your skull and swirling around that beautiful brain of yours…and out the crown of your head. Wow. Did you see that?
Someone once shared with me how he meditates and I really appreciated it (Thank you LS): As you exhale, visualize yourself squishing down to the smallest molecular form of you, like you were a speck of dust, a particle of sand, an electron, an atom, a quark! (yes, look that one up). Then as you inhale, imagine yourself expanding to a ginormous form of YOU. Like you could engulf all of Texas with your amazing mass. NOW HOLD IT. And consciously exhale as you transform this immensely sized being into the smallest, tiniest form of YOU. Breath in…lungs expand, oxygen increasing the expansiveness WE formulated with those moments that WE created. You did. You created that moment of intention of YOUR breath.
Do we have to focus on our breath? No. See, your ANS-Autonomic Nervous System- will continue to breath FOR you. Most ANS mechanisms are involuntary. The ANS acts as a “control system” that functions below the level of consciousness even. Beautifully and intricately formed in our being, the ANS assists us when we are unaware of our design. Thank you ANS! Sometimes I forget to breath…and am able to simply allow this visceral function to be. We can bring precision to this valuable force by utilizing our focus.
Spirituality of Breath: In most, dare I say all, traditions, spirit means breath. The spirit in us and the spirit through us is breath. Do you believe that you have the power to connect with your spirit through your breath? Again, maybe try that exercise a few more times really focusing on your spirit, god, God, whatever connects your spiritually to you. Pray as you practice this breath. Meditate as you breath with awareness. And gratitude. Let us be grateful for this tool in our belt.
PranaYAMA is prana-YUMMY!
Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning: extension of the prana or breath. Or extension of the life force. Breath equals life force. Therefore, that kick ass step I was selling you on in my title: Breath is life force. Breath is energy. Breath is our life. Breath is the key to awareness, presence and adaptation even to stress, yes? Breath is our fuel. (And a little plug for Yoga. Sometimes the only place in this world I can be present is on my mat…while I am focusing on the breath that centers my practice.)
I included a picture of myself from the 5k I ran last Sunday. Just a little 3.10686 mile run along the coast…I was inspired to riff about breath because of this race. The reason I crossed the finish line was because of my breath. My breath fueled me, increased my pace when needed and slowed my stride, too. My breath was with me the entire way. As well, breath is what linked me to the other stars racing that day. We all have breath, we all have life while we are still breathing, and this connects us as humans. From the beginning to the end. From the start to the finish line. This race…this pace. I’m ready to execute. Are you?
Our bodies, designed in greatness, will always hold our breath…so you don’t have to. Let it flow.
Step two: THERE AIN’T NO STEP TWO. Just breathe