Mindfulness Mondays 02

We are a journey of breaths. Our life begins with our first inhalation and ends with our last exhalation. The entire interval of breaths is the journey of life.

Mindfulness and self-observation/
The significance of breath

Why do all exercises always start with breath?

We are a journey of breaths. Our life begins with our first inhalation and ends with our last exhalation. The entire interval of breaths is the journey of life.

Our relationship and connection with our breath are our daily contact with our vital energy.

In modern lifestyle, many factors disconnect us from our breath. Clothing, body posture, air quality, lack of movement and activities… So, what we seek here is the opposite. To take this first pause, the gap within our daily routine, and come into contact with the magic of breath.

Breath; the direct connection of the external with the internal and vice versa. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs are associated with the metal element and with the individual’s ability to let go of things when they are finished, as well as with the body’s defensive power.

Breathing exercises from tradition to today.

People have recognized the importance of breath exercises from very early on. Ancient traditions such as Taoism and Yoga, for example, have entire practices dedicated solely to breathing. The most well-known practice is that of pranayama, where prana = cosmic energy and yama = control.

Within the scope of these traditional exercises, there is also the concept of activation and relaxation. Breath is our unique natural tool that can either activate or calm us, depending on how we use it.

Breath is a fundamental tool for musicians, singers, actors, athletes, and others. Thus, it is more common in their routines to include breathing exercises, leading to better control of muscles and rhythm, enabling them to achieve the desired performances.

These practices have been documented for many decades as something that can bring a person even into an ecstatic state. As studies and practices continued, new combinations and exercises emerged, giving rise to what is known in the Western world as “breathwork.” In breathworks, significant emphasis is placed on emotions and trauma response. It is important to have guidance to address the blocks within the body.

As with anything, there are properly trained professionals who can guide individuals on their personal journey in this regard.

Breath and emotion.

Stressed, difficulty breathing

Imagine for a moment situations in your life, such as experiencing sadness, stress, anxiety… and just in the imagination of these situations, observe your breath, how it changes automatically. You feel a change in your body, tightness, perhaps shallow and somewhat rapid breath, maybe you feel the chest moving first.

Now, imagine calm situations in your life, like being in your favorite spot and gazing at the sunset. Now, observe your breath. Immediately, you feel the difference even when just imagining it. Softness in the body, a fuller breath, deeper and perhaps slower, maybe you feel the belly expanding.

relaxed, free, open, happy

With mindful breathing and practicing these exercises, the stress mechanism changes, gaining better control in our daily lives by transitioning from the sympathetic system (activation) to the parasympathetic system (relaxation).

Mindful breathing in daily life

The wonderful thing about this tool is that it is always with us! No special equipment is needed. We can apply it anytime, anywhere.

It is important to have guidance and direction in the beginning but also to learn to trust our bodies, to allow them, to give them space and time.

This week's practice!

journal, a nice notebook with mug

This week, dedicate specific time to your breath.

  • Allocate 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.
  • Find a comfortable place in a seated position with the spine in a neutral position.
  • Place your hands on your torso, one on the chest and the other on the abdomen.
  • Observe.
  • Notice all the details you receive from your breath.
  • Without any pressure. If the mind tries to bring thoughts, simply let them pass without analyzing them and continue to observe your breath.

If you notice that you are not breathing during the day, allow yourself to take a short pause and bring your breath back to normal functioning.

As you breathe through your nose, try to maintain equal inhale and exhale at the beginning while counting seconds.

Use the seconds that you feel comfortable.

If it is too easy, increase, if it is too difficult, decrease.

We want a full breath in with each inhalation and a full breath out with each exhalation.

The general rule is that when the exhale is longer than the inhale, we have the relaxation function.

Continue for as long as you need it. Return to your normal breath.

Keep a journal to record your impressions as well as your progress. What challenges you and when.