Following the Breath

Breathing is natural for us. We learn it at birth, but throughout our lives, most of us “unlearn” how to breath correctly.

We tend to breath in our chest. When we do that, the diaphragm doesn’t rise and fall, as it does when we breath naturally.

The movement of the diaphragm is important. It “massages” our vagus nerve. That, in turn, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, takes us out of “fight-or-flight” mode, which allows our body to rest and repair.

It’s not hard to get back to natural breathing, and so, get back to a more healthful and relaxed state. It just takes time and frequent practice.

What to do

Throughout the next month, observe your breath. Don’t try to control or change it. Just become aware of how you’re breathing. Notice what’s happening in your body.

Spend a few minutes every day simply watching yourself breathe. You don’t have to set aside a special time. You can do it while you’re sitting, meditating or even just waiting in the car for someone.

There are structured breathing programs available, but sometimes, if you try to force the breath, your body may reject it, causing more anxiety, not less. You could hyperventilate.

Next month, we’ll continue this on this path and discuss how to gently alter your breathing pattern to bring it back to its natural state.

Where to look

To learn more, check out “The One-Minute Meditator” by Bill Birchard.

Posted in Lifestyle, Meditation