“Best of all is to preserve everything
in a pure, still heart, and let there be
for every pulse a thanksgiving,
and for every breath a song.”
~Konrad von Gesner
Most of us underestimate the power of a conscious breath. But if you want to stop the momentum of programmed habits, it’s a tool you’ll want to have in your back pocket
Just about every client I’ve ever worked with naturally takes an expansive breath, almost a deep sigh, when they first realize that their attention has been captured by a conditioned thought pattern.
This breath is like a homecoming. It breathes life into the body that’s been closed down and forgotten by endless mental activity, and helps the mind to open beyond a habitual and contracted line of thinking.
Just this morning someone was raving about the benefits of conscious breathing, as it helps her stop the habitual movement into anger. As a result, her relationships are improving, and she revealed, “I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.”
How Conscious Breathing Affects the Body
Conscious breathing calms the nervous system by relaxing your muscles, slowing your heart rate, and bringing oxygen throughout your body. It acts as a reset, taking you off the treadmill of mental patterns that run automatically so you can find the stillness and ease of being present in the moment.
Our lungs are actually quite large, going from the top of the collarbone to the bottom of the ribs and expanding through the front, sides, and back of the body. That’s a lot of space to fill up with air!
When we’re caught in stressful thinking, our breathing is shallow, using only a small portion of the upper lung. And the muscles and connective tissue around the chest, belly, and back are tense. And some of us even forget to breathe.
A couple of deep conscious breaths draws your attention away from your mind and invites opening and relaxation into your whole body.
Here are the instructions for conscious breathing. And if you click here, you’ll find an audio recording I made for you that will guide you.
- Start by bringing your attention to your low belly, just below the belly button. You might even put your hand there so you can feel your belly expand and contract.
- Exhale out all the air completely, then inhale from your belly, taking four slow counts to fill your lungs completely to the top of the collarbone…1…2…3…4. You’ll feel your ribs expand all around your body.
- Then exhale slowly for a count of six…1…2…3…4…5…6.
- Come back to normal breathing, and just be still.
When you’re ready, try a few more deep conscious breaths. You can change the counts for the inhale and exhale however you need to so it’s comfortable for your body.
Here is an audio recording I made for you to try out conscious breathing.
(To download, click Download. The audio will open in a new window. Then for Mac’s, control-click, then “Save video as…”. For PC’s, right click.)
So simple, right?
A Useful Tool Anytime
You can take these conscious breaths anytime…
- When you’re beginning to feel angry,
- When you notice you’re stuck in worry, stress, or fear,
- When your inner critic gets noisy,
- When your mind is spinning with thoughts,
- When you feel the urge to act in a way you know doesn’t serve you,
- Anytime you’re triggered.
Simply breathe…inhaling and exhaling. You may notice you’re in touch with feeling vital and alive, grateful and still. It’s the universe breathing itself through you…
What About You?
Comments are open. Any questions or reports? I’d love to hear…