Resources to support the cultivation of healthy lifestyles and fulfilled living are all around us. Amongst the most powerful are those housed within our own bodyminds, including the breath. The breath is but one of many life force energies, which signifies our interwoven connection with air element, nature. Throughout your life you’ve likely recognized many moments of connection with your breath – we often become acutely aware of our breathing when something in our bodymind shifts. Maybe we decide to pick up the pace during a walk or a run, noticing that the tempo of the breath mirrors this, seemingly following suit. When tuning in during a moment of rest or relaxation you may have noticed that the pace of breathing seems to slow down, morphing into deeper, longer breaths. Most, if not all of us have felt moments of breath awareness, with any shortness of breath that arises in response to something that shocks or surprises us, perhaps seemingly going wrong.
Jon Kabat-Zinn reminds us, “If you are breathing, there is more right with you than wrong with you”. Perhaps this statement is be the bridge into acknowledging and strengthening our awareness of and relationship to the breath. Housed within each of our human bodymind experiences is the life force energy of the breath. This is a power inherent in each of our beings. Accessed or not, we are gifted with the opportunity to come to know the breath as a supportive indicator, resource, and tool.
Harnessing the power of the breath within my felt sense experience has been an incredible gift, one which has undoubtedly supported me through life events – both big and small – over the years. I know that I am better equipped because of it.
Despite the inherent nature of this power, it is not uncommon for many of us to be moving through the day-to-day with little awareness of the flow and changing tides of our breath. It is well known that early on in most of our lives, due in large part to a lack of awareness, that many of us begin to contract or hold back from the full range of breath. This often begins in our early childhood years, caused by an experience of shock, fear, or surprise – when something unfolds in our experience that we weren’t quite expecting. That powerful dance with life we all experience, facing the unexpected and unknowns. This contraction in and of itself is not a problem. Rather it’s the lack of awareness of the unconscious shift into a level of a level of continuous holding of the breath that limits us; over time limiting us from our full capacity to face and process the emotions, experiences and events events that unfold in our lives.