The Power of Breath by Aubrey Volger
Sit still as you read this. Focus on your breath. Come into the moment of just being. Be a human reading an article, don’t be where you just came from or where you need to go next. Take a long inhale through your nose. Notice if you breathe into your belly, or send the air to your chest. Exhale all that used oxygen then expand again, this time sending all breath to your belly. Once your belly is full, expand into the diaphragm, and then fill your chest. Slowly exhale all the air, squeezing your belly button back towards your spine. Good. You have just decreased stress-related hormones and improved the balance between your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and your parasympathetic nervous system (relax and heal). You have just gifted yourself a moment of healing. Keep those long inhales going as you read.

With a slow rhythmic breath, you not only unleash the power in your lungs to heal the body; you also slow your mind to bring clarity. When you feel tired, sore, unmotivated, confused or anxious, sit still for a moment and give yourself one, three, five, sixty (whatever you have time for) slow, focused breaths. Notice how the muscles in your body react differently to your inhale and exhale. Is there openness or resistance to the movement? Are the muscles in your cervical spine tense or relaxed? Shoulders high and tight or dropped and open? Back body soft or restricted? Don’t place judgement, just notice. All healing starts with awareness.

Make it a goal to sit with your breath at least once a day. Do not strive for time as much as set an intention with the practice. What is it you wish to heal? Are you nervous about an upcoming event? Have you just been triggered to anger? Is there physical pain you seek comfort for? Is there grief from a loss? Are you searching for clarity? Gift yourself this free time to be; sit with your questions, ask yourself what you want, and breathe. The answers will come to you in ways you could never imagine.

A deep breath welcomes oxygen into the blood flow, improving its movement through your body. That flow maintains your energy levels…it is your vitality for life. The more oxygen you have, the better your blood stays charged as it moves farther away from the heart. This charge connects at a cellular level that mixes with the flow of your energetic field.

Time slows down with a slow breath. It’s easier to let go of whatever you’ve been up to and arrive where you are. When you move slowly during times of transition (which is all the time for humans and especially strong during seasonal shifts), you help your mind stay clear and your body calm. Deep inhales bring consciousness to your body from a different perspective. It’s like stretching your muscles from the inside, releasing whatever memories they hold.

As you breathe and learn more about yourself, let your vitality for life stay vibrant so the healing process does not drag you down. Healing is not always an easy journey, but you have the power to make it a peaceful one with something completely free: oxygen.

Each time we stop to give ourselves a moment of synchronized breathing, we improve our ability to manage pain, stress, depression and anxiety. Over time, we become confident in our actions and more calm in our reactions.

The benefits of making this your personal practice are powerful. Combine the rhythm with whatever form of bodywork you choose (massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, etc.) and the power to open pathways of healing doubles. Again… exhale all used oxygen. Slowly expand into your belly, then diaphragm, then chest. Slowly exhale, squeezing the belly button back. Happy healing.

Aubrey Volger, LMT offers intuitive massage working with trigger points and energetic pathways, along with guided breathing techniques, to release physical holds; leaving you with balance of body and mind. Visit www.DriftHands.com or contact her at aubrey.volger@gmail.com or 970.946.2209.

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