Sunday, July 28, 2013

six | practicing simplicity

the end of the jetty / a moment of solitude

Living a less-distracted life : come back to your breath.

How often do you stop to feel yourself breathe? I'm presuming your answer is "not often enough" - and that's ok. 

If you watch a baby or young child breathe, they do so with their whole torso; it rises and falls with each inhalation and exhalation. It's called a whole body breath and adults don't do it enough. After childhood, when we begin to experience stress, it's quite normal for us to revert to short, sharp breaths into the chest. Ideally we need to breathe into the belly - a deep, nourishing inhalation followed by a long, releasing exhalation. 

Breath awareness is one of the most effective relaxation techniques. Simply observing the breath has the power to bring you into the present moment, to the here and the now. When you start to become aware of your breath you begin to notice its quality - light or heavy, smooth or jagged - and from there you naturally become more aware of your body. 

It can be quite confronting to stop and realise that you've been running on auto, that your breath is shallow and your body is tense. But I promise you that it doesn't take long to establish awareness; to make it an essential practice in your day. You can do it right now - mentally repeat "let" as you inhale and "go" as you exhale. It's also a beautiful way to settle before sleep, encouraging your breath to move down into your belly, letting go of your day and any unnecessary thoughts. 

So: inhale and exhale....become aware of the rise and fall, ebb and flow. 

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