I cannot stop getting amazed by how much I experience by bringing my awareness to my breathing. In mindfulness meditation, it is called befriending your breath. Yes, why not see your breath as your friend, always here for you, wherever you are, whatever you are doing? Thinking about this, I wanted to briefly share a couple of my “breath experiences”. It all started as I got into yoga.
Before I went to my first yoga class, my teacher asked that I come to her home so that she could teach me how to breathe (??). I had never paid any attention to my breath – I can assure you I learned a lot. Among the things she mentioned was how people arriving to hospitals in India are taught how to breathe as an initial treatment, as the breath can help start the healing in the body. Based on my own experience, it does work! Another thing was how when you twist to one side, lung capacity is restricted and you cannot breathe all the way down into your belly. Have you ever thought of that? And one last thing: You always have more air in your lungs than you think. Knowing this may help you the next time you feel out of breath.
At a time in my life when things felt very busy every single day, I remember looking forward to getting into bed at night with my breath – it became my friend by then. I was enjoying lying down with my eyes closed, breathing in and out. Following the in- and out-breaths as they just happened, it felt like a caress in my chest. I was observing how my chest was sinking deeper and deeper on the out-breath, then the mini-pause, before a new in-breath was offered, just like that. I viewed it as pure luxury me-time, my mind only focusing on these waves of breaths coming in, going out, my breathing becoming calm, and my body receiving this treatment. Later on, I realised this is breath meditation! If you try this, noticing how by simply bringing your awareness to your breathing, as your breath becomes calm, your mind can be calm too.
This past weekend, I attended my first parkrun, running 5km with 500 other people. Finding myself in this big group, hearing my own breath with so many other breaths around me, it just made me smile. Imagine all these breaths out together in Wimbledon Common early on a cold Saturday morning. Another breathing experience to remember! 😍
I am loving caring for my breath, attending to it. More breath experiences, please!