One of the miracles of my body is that it breathes all by itself. I don’t have to get involved. I’ve happily delegated that bit of staying alive to my subconscious and the teamwork’s been going excellently well for 59 years now, since the moment of my birth.
And I know about the importance of proper breathing because in earlier times in my life I was a singer. I’ve sung in choirs for more than forty years and there’s nothing like it for raising the spirits. And the importance of the right sort of breath is taught to us singers, breathing from the diaphragm supports your best vocal work.
And my spiritual friends remind me constantly of the importance of breathing in email sign offs and tweets. Just breathe, they exhort. And I know at some level I’m thinking “oh, FFS, who’s got time for breathing? I’m WORKING here!”
And I even own an EmWave machine which helps me breathe – I thoroughly recommend this. I saw one of my favourite gurus, Martha Beck, using it before a talk. All you have to do is breathe in and out and slow your heart rate down and relax and the more you do it, the better it works. You watch the lights go from angry red, to cool blue to optimum green and very gratifying it is too; one feels rewarded for breathing right.
And I teach my clients to breathe. Sometimes when we are rushing, or getting over-excited or tearful, or we run out of things to discuss in an hour-long session I say “well, let’s just sit here and breathe in and out, then”. It gives us all time for pause. And often something magical occurs if we just take that moment to be. We are all so busy trying to fill the space with talking, that we don’t realise we already know the answer deep inside. How resourceful could we feel – on demand – if we knew we could access that wisdom with just a few deep breaths?
And recently another new guru in my life reminded me to lie on the floor and showed me how to breathe properly (again!) and reminded me of the importance of it.
And so I know how to breathe properly, ALRIGHT?
And yes I do know that each of those last six paragraphs begins with the word And…that’s just how it feels, isn’t it, when you aren’t able to catch your breath.
So I’m a genius on the importance of breathing and I have all the advice and gizmos I need to do it right, but do I do it? Do I heck as like! Just like everyone else on Planet Earth, during the course of a business day my breath gets shallower and shallower and I never really take the time to expel that horrid stale bit which gets trapped at the bottom of my lungs for goodness knows how long. That bit’s got toxins in apparently. Yuk.
But I have been doing it this week – deliberately. My new guru, he of the lying on the floor, he inspired me. He reminded me that breathing right will make me feel strong and give me time to choose how to respond to anything challenging. And do you know? He’s only right. Four days in it’s going swimmingly. I feel better. So much better it’s a miracle. And it’s “only” breathing. Imagine that? Breathing, it’s even free!
Do you want to experiment with this? Start on Monday, or now, and let me know how you feel by Friday. I’ll be blowed (geddit?) if you too aren’t feeling a lot better about life, the Universe and everything by this time next week.
Did you know that a yawn is often not a sign that you are tired or bored, just your body’s way of getting more oxygen into the system? I tell you, it’s a miracle, an everyday miracle I’ve been taking for granted for far too long. Now I’m high on air, I’m high on life. Breathing is especially helpful if I wake in the night with a bout of the nameless dreads and cannot get back to sleep. Give it a go.