We are born into this world with our first breath and we leave this world with our last breath. The space in between these two breaths is our journey on Earth. The quality of our journey is impacted by many factors including the quality of our breath. The breath nourishes our body and organs by bringing oxygen to them but the nourishment is only as good as each breath we take. If we do not breathe properly and fully, then we are depriving our body and organs of the oxygen they need to be optimally functional and healthy. The breath is also the catalyst to our Divine Self (God’s love). By focusing and connecting to the breath, you learn to quiet down the negative chatter and connect with your Divine Self. Finding this space of quietness brings you to the present moment and enabling you to tune in to your spiritual guidance.
Do you pay attention to your breath? Most of us do not because breathing just happens automatically. Stop now and see how you are breathing. How deep is your breath and where is the air going in your body as you breathe in? Most of us take shallow breaths and only allow the upper chest to fill before exhaling. We have had a lifetime of unconscious shallow breathing because we were not taught the benefits of focusing on the breath. The quality of our breath is negatively affected by the situations and circumstances in our lives.
“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”
Situations and circumstances can cause difficulty in breathing depending on how you react to them. When feeling stressed, nervous, anxious, or frightened, my heart beats fast, my breath becomes shallow, and sometimes I even hold my breath and have to remind myself to breath depending on the problems and decisions I’m facing at the time. Not knowing about deep breathing at the time, I did my best to get through each situation but I know that my health had taken a toll because of how I reacted to each situation. My son would hyper-ventilate when he had a panic attack or felt anxious. A holistic practitioner helped him with deep breathing techniques. As he learned to take full breaths by focusing and controlling his breath, he would calm down and stop the hyper-ventilating. It was amazing to watch how it helped him. During Pilates & Yoga classes taught by Lynn Feder, l also started practicing deep breathing techniques and applying them to my life. Now, my body is constantly reminding me to breathe full breaths for it wants all the nourishment it can get.
Lynn Feder, a Yoga/Pilates wellness coach guides her “Just Breathe Meditation” for Hopeful Hearts Ministry. Focusing on the breath, which gives us life, calms our entire system, quieting the mind, and even energizes us which helps in decision making during difficult and stressful situations or even gives us energy to persevere. Lynn teaches different deep breathing techniques like belly breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and breath of fire, adding a brief explanation of how to do each.
Types of Breathing Techniques
Belly breathing is done while having a straight spine and placing your left hand on your heart space and placing your right hand on your belly while relaxing your stomach and abdominal muscles. Slowly inhale through the nose allowing the belly to expand as it fills with air, allowing the air to move up to the ribcage, up to the chest as you continue to completely fill your lungs to max capacity. You pause and then control the exhale releasing all of the air to empty the lungs completely, pausing again before you start the next inhale. Belly breathing enables you to take full breaths resulting in more oxygen to the organs and glands so your body and mind become calmer and clearer.
Learn how to quiet the mind and tame the breath as you practice alternate nostril breathing. Start by holding your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril. As you place your right index finger on your left nostril, pause before lifting your right thumb and exhale evenly and completely through your right nostril. Now inhale through the right nostril and start again by closing it off with your right thumb and repeat the sequence. Continue this for three to five minutes, alternating your breathing through each nostril. Alternate nostril breathing should be used when feeling anxious to help calm you. It brings you to the present moment as it balances the hemispheres of the brain and calms the nervous system.
Breath of fire is an energizing breath and is done by forceful breathing in and out of the mouth from the diaphragm at the rate of one second per cycle while sitting or standing. Do the repitions for 30 seconds and build up to a minute, paying attention to how you feel during the practice. If you feel light-headed, stop for a few moments and then resume with a less intense breath. If you want more of a challenge, then breath in and out from the nose. Breath of fire should be used when feeling sluggish or tired and want to feel energized as it aerates your entire system.
I challenge you to take a few minutes throughout your busy day, even during work, to practice any of these deep breathing techniques and see how much better you feel and the positive impact it has on your life. Remember, it takes practice to build a new habit but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.
It’s also a wonderful experience to attend a free 90 minute “Just Breath Meditation” that includes so much more than just these three breathing techniques that is held at Hopeful Hearts Ministry located at 1210 Hamblen Rd. Suite 875 Kingwood, Texas. You can contact Lynn Feder at firstname.lastname@example.org or Shannon Deitz at email@example.com to reserve your spot to attend the next meditation to be held on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 7-8:30 PM.
Oxygen is free and your health, vitality, and longevity is worth this investment in yourself. Incorporating mindful breathing into your day will improve your overall health and well-being.
Just Breathe for the quality of your life depends on it.
Namaste (My soul honors your soul)
Debbie Stoltz, HC, AADP
About the Author:
Debra Stoltz, HC, AADP, is the author of “It’s all about You!” that is available on Amazon:. She has made it her mission in life to teach others how to optimize their personal and spiritual well-being. She holds certifications in several areas, including board certification from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) as a holistic health coach, health coaching certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and basic mat Pilates from Peak Pilates. She is the owner of SoulBody Nourishment, and she facilitates a Course in Miracles. She is currently working on a book on nourishing the soul’s temple. She lives in Humble, Texas, with her partner and English cocker spaniel, Sebastian. To connect with Debbie, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org