Who Has Seen the Breath?

     January is a time of new beginnings and startings over. Some conversations might feature blank slates, do-overs, and second (or third) chances. New Year may offer the option to put the past away and start anew.
     For me, this is a wonderful time to go back to the very basics of being here in the world now, and I don’t need a New Year for a new beginning: every day triggers a new possible future. Each day starts with breath in our body, connecting us to the miracle of physical life.
     Breathing is the simplest and most easily accessed indication of the life force within. The cry of a newborn that tells that the lungs are inflated and life is present. In the final moment, when breathing stops, we will transition out of the body, and deemed no longer alive.
     My teacher Dennis Lewis  offers some simple lessons for connecting with breath.
     First, he suggests we inhale and exhale through the nose whenever possible, to allow the filtering hair of the nostrils to do their job, and to stimulate brain function.
     Famous osteopath and writer Robert C. Fulford, D.O. writes in Dr. Fulford's Touch of Life: 'Remember: always try to breathe through your nostrils, and not through your mouth, because air must contact the olfactory nerves to stimulate your brain and put it into its natural rhythm. If you don't breathe through your nose, in a sense you're only half alive.'
     Secondly, Lewis asks us to sense our body’s weight being supported by the earth. This requires a shift of focus from the tasks and busyness of activity into the physical reality. Move your awareness and feel how you are housed within your body.
     Keeping the shoulders down permits the lungs to inflate fully, permitting full respiration to occur naturally. When tension pulls the shoulders upwards, breathing will remain in the upper chest, and reduce the amount of oxygen being made available for the body.
     Let your arms hang freely and your hands relax. Sense the weight of your arms and hands, and be aware of any reflexive tension they carry. As you release tension in the muscles of your upper body, you make room for the lungs to expand and for breath to flow deeply.
     A Sanskrit Proverb says that ‘breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.’ When we begin each day by making a deliberate bond with our breath, we anchor the Spiritual facet of consciousness in the miraculous physical vehicle which allows us to experience human life. This is surely a step towards living life to the fullest.
     Click here to download your copy of the free pdf file Four Simple Steps to Make Every Day a New Beginning and start a new connexion with your mornings.

     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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