By Marina Semerikov
Envision that you are in the grocery store, surrounded by people, loud conversation and the occasional temper tantrum. There is noise, there are bright lights and lines of people at check out. Now notice how you feel about this scenario. Does this imagery bring about feelings of serenity or joy? I didn't think so.
Next scenario, you are driving in traffic and waiting for the endless set of rail cars to pass through. In this visual alone, how does your face feel? Are you unknowingly grimaced and breathing at a shallow pace? Check it through, I invite you take a pause here. Be aware of your breath and proceed.
I haven't even mentioned the state one may enter while driving on icy roads or the mere mention of ice being part of the weather report. See where I am going?
Truth is, the scenarios are endless and arriving at locations that are not your favorite will continue to present themselves. Question is, are you equipped to manage the stress these unwanted events bring?
Things that are out of your control can actually bring you to a higher level of consciousness. Being aware of the things that make you feel edgy or out of sorts can be brought to light by the mere absence of breath. I mean, quality breath.
The lack of quality breath leads to anxiety, racing thoughts, clumsiness, accidents or, God forbid, the need for a fainting chair.
Consider this: Taking a few deep breaths can slow a person down and create some calm, whether the person needs help with the racing mind or with restlessness in general. All things can come to center with some breathwork.
Not sure what the word "center" means? Pretty basic -- it's the here and now. Being present and awake to your surroundings and knowing what’s in front of you. Understanding that when you take a step, open the door and speak words, you are actually aware of your actions. Doing things with clear thinking and intention can enhance productivity and prevent injury.
As I sit here, outdoors on the grass in my chosen environment, I can hear my neighbor hammering away on a board, a dog barking and some birds chirping. I am able to let my breath be my guide; and so far, I am able to work in this space and allow the breath to flow at a steady rate.
Letting breath be your guide is like having a guardian angel of sorts. If breath is labored from walking a flight of stairs, it’s telling the body, "move it more often," or if you're fighting for air while doing yard work, the message may be, "get out of the sun for a bit, and cool off, before you pass out." What is the pace at which you are breathing right now? Is there a need to take a deep breath or to close your eyes for a moment and relax?
Furthermore, try and remember the moments that literally took your breath away. This is real. Your body will react to situations, good or bad. You can resist things in life, tense up and hold breath. Or you can breathe through the experience and find comfort in what is. However, if the body tenses up repeatedly in this experience, let breath be the guide to something new. Perhaps change is necessary.
If you are not hearing or feeling your breath, you may be in a harried frenzy or in an uncomfortable setting. I know I would hold my breath if I walked into a haunted house or if I was surrounded by snakes. My breath rate changes when I read bad news in the paper. Alternatively, when I am at a Primus concert, at a good movie or in a Yoga class, the air entering and exiting my body is at its optimal flow.
I invite you to try this for a day. Notice the situations that bring about shallow breath and the ones that make you feel at peace and able to take full breaths.
It's all around you, easy to tap into and available 24-7. And the best part about this stuff is it's absolutely free.
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