The Art of Breathing by Mirabai Holland, MFA ©2013

By the time we reach our 50s and 60s, we have often learned habitual postures and positions that block our ability to breathe fully. These postures might be learned from parents, they might be developed from past injuries or result unconsciously from daily environments like driving or hunching forward to look at a computer.

You can go without food and even water for quite a while but stop breathing for more than a couple of minutes and you know what happens. You take a breath about every 5 seconds.

Breathing is something we take for granted. But its powers are nearly magical.
Everything we do depends on the quality of our breathing: better circulation, clearer thinking, more positive mood, reduced stress and many say longevity and even peace of mind.

Breathing is normally automatic but it can be made voluntary. Controlled breathing helps the body and mind relax.

Breathing deeply can help you begin to slow down, even in the most stressful times of your life. Even if you are not inclined to practice meditation, doing a few minutes of breathing exercises can have a similar relaxing effect. These tranquil, replenishing exercises can be done wherever you are.

Let’s try it. Start with your breath.

Go to a place that is a quiet and private as possible, even if it’s a bathroom.
Sit in a comfortable position that keeps your body erect, and close your eyes. Let them relax back into their sockets.

Breathe in deeply while relaxing your abs. Hold about 3 seconds and breathe out while pulling your abs in. Keep breathing. Concentrate on the sound of your breathing. It will help you clear your mind. Relax your shoulders and keep breathing.  Let the stress melt.

When you’re ready, open your eyes and rejoin your day refreshed.

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