The body’s connection to mind and spirit can be a practice. We build health through building awareness of our breath . By building breath awareness, you may experience a greater sense of overall ease, lower blood pressure, decrease worry, inflammation, and build calm into relationships. Our breath is a powerful, accessible, and available means to connect and ground ourselves. After all, the word for breathing is inspiration.
Experiment with developing a breath practice in small bytes. Begin by noticing your breath during activities you often do. Movements such as walking, lifting weights, yoga, gardening, or cleaning the house provide opportunities for a breath check-in. Other times to tune in may involve praying, meditating, cooking, petting your dog or cat, hugging your family. With so much work or personal interaction by phone or video, it’s even more important to notice our breath. We can notice, with curiosity where we hold tension in our bodies.
If you are a human on earth, preCOVID or present, you may be living your daily life doing everything you can to tune out, rather than in. It’s not about blaming yourself, it’s simply a reality of how much of our external world operates now. And yet, if we want to build overall health, self-compassion, and live a life more according to what really matters to us, we can choose. Choice, however, requires not only often shifting perspectives, but noticing, and noticing takes tuning in. In her 2010 book An Altar In The World, Barbara Brown Taylor calls the practice of paying attention reverence. She says,
“ The practice of paying attention is as simple as looking twice at people and things you might just as easily ignore. To see takes time, like having a friend takes time. It is as simple as turning off the television to learn the song of a single bird. Why should I imagine doing such things? I cannot imagine–unless one is weary crossing days off the calendar with no sense of what makes the last day different from the next. Unless one is weary of acting in what feels more like a television commercial than a life. The practice of paying attention offers no quick fix for such weariness, with guaranteed results printed on the side. Instead, it is one way into a different way of life, full of treasure for those who are willing to pay attention to exactly where they are.”
For a new bestselling resource on the breath, check out journalist James Nestor’s 2020 book Breath: The New Science of A Lost Art.