The bridge that breath provides
It seems to me we are not one, solid, unchanging being, but rather a deeply interconnected web of life from which consciousness arises. However much we may feel ourselves removed or more refined, we are mammals. Embracing our animate selves and using our breath to influence our bodymind is a practical way to self-manage. When we do so we not only improve our own quality of life, we enhance energy and life for everyone around us.
We breathe from our first moment to our last, and yet we so often take for granted this fundamental action. It can be automatic, and its quality can vary vastly. When you are afraid and constricted your breath is very different from when you are relaxed or at peace.
Deliberately using your breath, moment to moment, can have big consequences. Deep breathing you can wake up your natural calm down system (the parasympathetic nervous system), tone your vagal nerve (which influences your stress responses), stimulate your lymphatic system (to detoxify your body), improve your immunity, lower your blood pressure, support your digestion...the list goes on.
What’s even better is you don’t need to take a lot of time out to do this. You can take 10 slow, deep breaths between tasks at your desk, or each time you sit down, when you move from one place to another, on rising, at bedtime, before meals, after meals...any time really. Hooking it to changes can help you remember to do it, this helps until it becomes more automatic.
I don’t know about you, but when I am stressed my whole body tightens up. A deep breath can bring back some space, and leave me feeling expansive and open, soothing the constriction and tightness.
Why not build some breath breaks into your day today? You might just have more energy to keep going if you do.