Breathe. You took a breath just reading the word “breathe”, didn’t you? Good.
Now do it again, but sit up a little straighter.
That’s right, lower your shoulders from your ears and let your shoulder blades come together slightly as you lift your chin.
On your next inhale, pay attention to the sound the air makes coming in through your nose. Notice the coolness of the air and observe where that air goes. Does it stop at the top of your lungs? At the middle? Bottom? Does it make your belly rise and your chest expand up and out?
Keep inhaling deep until you think you can’t take in anymore.
Then take in one more.
Yes, you can.
And now, part your lips slightly and purse them as if you were ready to whistle or blow out a candle
As you did with the inhale, pay attention to the breath on your exhale. Notice again, any sound the air makes as it leaves through your lips. Observe the warmth of your breath now, from the initial cool inhale. What areas of your body empty first? Does your diaphragm collapse or your lungs, hollowing your chest?
Completely exhale until all of the air has been expelled from your body.
And exhale one more small pocket of breath.
This time exhale through your nose, giving the same attention as when you exhaled through your lips. Does it feel different? The same?
We breathe. We’re alive. The breath—prana, is what gives us life. But how often do we pay attention to how we breathe until a moment comes when we can’t or have trouble?
Focusing on our breath can teach us so much about where we are in our mental, emotional, and physical state. As you take in a deep breath, observe any areas where your breath gets “caught” or emotions that might arise. Can you feel how even one simple deep inhale and exhale can micro-move your entire body?
You can literally change your thoughts and relax by a few moments of conscious breathing. At the very least, deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. You don’t need a gym membership or any special equipment. You just need you and a few moments of your time.
Sit, stand, lie down, it doesn’t matter. Be at home, in your car, standing in line, alone or surrounded by people, it doesn’t matter.