This is What I Know…My breath has become my anchor, and I use it all the time to keep me grounded. I get a lot of practice, given I lead pretty much all of my clients in mindfulness practice for about ten minutes in their session, and so I am practicing as well. I notice that if I am getting affected by a client's story in a way that I'm connecting it to myself- getting distracted almost by my own stuff, I actively take in a breath and use the exhale to regroup, resettle and refocus on their stuff. Honestly this doesn't happen too often but big things have happened in my life and I must attend to my clients despite this. A good example is during the time my father was dying, I had two clients whose father's were also dying. This was not easy. When I got pulled to my own sadness- the breath kept me balanced, present, and grounded.
And yes, I'm becoming that annoying person in yoga that breathes loudly! I kind of don't care anymore, and that in itself is a fabulous feeling. My breath is releasing lots of stuff, stuff we don't even realize or recognize that we are carrying around ; physical tension, sadness, worry, fear and letting go of the day. I love to do this in child's pose. There is something about resting my forehead into the mat, allowing the body to rest into the pose and exhale. When I'm exhaling I think about all the "stuff" I'm leaving on the mat. This visualization is very helpful for releasing the physical tension from my body. The day is done, so I'm leaving it here, thank you very much.
If you didn't already know here are some of the amazing benefits of our life force...
When we breathe deeply and fully...
*The body relaxes and begins to release tension allowing for greater absorption of oxygen into every cell.
*Oxygen increases within the body, which creates energy and improves functionality of all the bodily systems; circulatory, immune, muscular, endocrine, digestive, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
*The nervous system is balanced by the stimulation of the parasympathetic branch, the "rest and digest" system. This helps to slow heart rate, conserve energy and enhances the body's natural ability to heal.
*The heart rate lowers, the muscular system releases tension and the blood vessels are able to dilate, allowing for improved circulation and lowering the body's blood pressure.
*Oxygen levels flowing to the brain increase, heightening mental clarity, concentration, stamina and promoting fuller awareness and mindfulness.
*Pent up emotion and tension can release. When you're upset, take a few deep breaths, you may still feel upset but you may experience a little more head space, to allow for more clarity.
*Stress hormones are lowered, in particular adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are known to suppress the immune system. So recovery and healing are improved by intentional breathing.
* The mind is harnessed, so that we are more able to watch our thoughts, like an active witness as opposed to getting caught up in them. With practice you can see you are more than just your thoughts.
*The body's production and distribution of natural opiates increases, helping to strengthen the threshold for pain.
*Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are balanced, which helps to create an alkaline environment which reduces acidity, inflammation and infection.
So, your breath is your superpower .... maybe you should start using it!