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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Take a Breath


Ancient Yogic teachings say that if you can control your breath, you can control your life.”
Elaine St. James (Inner Simplicity)

Do you sigh a lot? I was with friends last night having a conversation about weighty subjects like long-term care insurance, and the best means of managing the last chapter of life. I noticed a lot of sighing among us. Curious, I did a little research about sighing. First of all, it serves an important physiological purpose. According to researchers at the University of Leumen in Belgium, sighing is akin to pushing the restart button on your computer. Breathing is both dynamic and chaotic. All sorts of internal and external factors determine how much oxygen we need in any given moment. The respiratory system requires changes in volume to keep the lung tissue healthy—faster, slower, deeper, shallower—and the sigh is the reset mechanism. My friends spoke last night about their Fit-Bit, and Jawbone electronic monitoring devices alerting them to do certain things. A sigh is like that; a nudge to say, “You need to take a deep breath.”

When we discuss emotional subjects, we tend to take shallow breaths, or even hold our breath. The sigh takes air deep into our lungs and then discharges all the toxins that have collected while we were not breathing. Becoming conscious of our breath can make a dramatic difference in our health. A few good deep breaths into the belly clear the head and energize the body. They can change a bad mood into a better one. With practiced concentration, the breath can even move one to another level of awareness.

Breath control has the ability calm you down, and help you to think clearly. A good practice is to take a few seconds every hour or so, stand tall and inhale deeply enough to feel your diaphragm extend as far as it will go into your belly, then slowly let out the air. Three nice, deep, fluid, easy breaths will clean out your lungs, clear up your thinking, and lift your spirit. You'll improve your health and adjust your attitude all at the same time.

                                                                       In the Spirit,


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