“Be happy as long as the breath is within you.” I found this on my Yogi ginger tea and it got me to thinking … breath really is like the fountain of happiness!
New clients often contact me for Reiki/BodyTalk sessions to assist them with stress and anxiety. Over the years, I have noticed a pattern that clients with these concerns literally seem like they are holding their breath. Their doctors’ solution is to put them on prescription medication, but I find it interesting to note that many patients are not even aware of their breathing patterns.
When I ask them to allow the breath to move into the diaphragm, I can feel more palpable shifts of energy during the sessions. Usually, I have them put their hands over their rib cage and deepen the breath to allow the rib cage to rise and fall. I encourage you to try it now from your desk for about 20 breaths in and out and see how you feel.
It makes me feel pretty good and I hope you feel the same. Sometimes, when you start breathing like this again after having shallow breaths for a long time, uncomfortable emotions can rise up. Breathe right through them, and under it all you will observe that stress will decrease and anxiety will dissipate with a daily practice.
If you find the emotions too much for you, you can also try Reiki/BodyTalk sessions for balance and support through the process. That said, a daily practice of deep breathing, even for 3 minutes per day to start, will help ensure that any shifts from the sessions have a lasting effect.
My clients have reported feeling more present and mindful in their day to day activities after just one session. Recently, one client mentioned that she hadn’t felt that way since 5 years ago before her mother had passed away. Another wrote to me to say that her deep breathing helps her notice more little things through her day that make her grateful.
Want to bring more gratitude into your life?
Once you have mastered the diaphragmatic breathing, you can work on the three part breath. Breath into your belly, breath into your rib cage and then bring the breath all the way into your heart. I like to practice this one lying down with pillows or blankets under my back so that my torso is lifted and I can really fill up the lungs. This breath literally opens your heart, which benefits everyone.
Another way to change your breathing patterns is by coordinating your breath with movement. You may be doing some of this already in your yoga class. One tip I have from my BodyTalk courses is to observe the rock of the pelvis as you breathe. As you inhale, the pelvis rocks down and the lower back arches slightly. As you exhale, the pelvis rocks forward and the lower back flattens. You can try this technique in bed with your knees bent – keep the breath and the movement slow and steady.
Your breath is precious and so important for many of the body’s systems. A daily practice of deep breaths will improve blood circulation, nerve conduction, lymphatic flow and your immune system just to name a few.
Deep breathing is a gift that you can give to yourself every day – it is nature’s medicine!