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Posts Tagged ‘breathing’

I wanted to break my latest hiatus by letting you know I’ve been thinking of you. I know I haven’t reached that many people with my words in the grand scheme of things. That said, I do believe that those whom I have touched have in turn touched the lives of others, just as I continue to share the gifts of insight and love that others have given me. We are sharing the human experience, and we can’t stop our influence from spreading beyond our reach.

It is my sincerest goal that my life bring more love, more peace, and more joy to the lives of those around me than I would have thought possible. And that, through enjoying those blessings we share, those lives then shine their light forward to illuminate the dark spaces of others. In this way, the light and love that I have received with may continue that work throughout our world.

Please, take a moment to remember something that is special to you, that warms your heart. Remember a thought, an experience, a talent or a dream that helps you feel your spark inside. Take three deep, slow breaths, savoring this moment of precious peace. Feel the sacred beauty of nature, and of the human heart, savoring that precious unity-point where the outside world touches your skin. Remember we are one people, sharing one planet, and enjoy a moment of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Take another moment, please, to experience the positive, warm peace that dwells within the stillness. Form a memory of what that feels like. And from now on, whenever possible, call up that moment of peace to your conscious attention, to help you through a hectic time, or even to periodically brighten your day.

As you practice this, you can’t help but create a positive influence for the world you inhabit. May that warm embrace of the joyful stillness come easier and easier for you, until it shapes your every day.

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We’re coming up on the halfway point for 2015, and it seems like things have really gotten busy. My prediction for this year was that the currents of life would be more like rapids, speeding forward in potentially chaotic ways. I felt as though, if we could keep our oars in the water, these rapids could carry us more quickly toward our goals. But if we let ourselves slip out of that current, then we could get swept suddenly askew.

I haven’t always kept my oars steering me in the right direction. I’ve certainly devoted more energy than needed in spinning around in circles a few times. But I feel as though I’m getting myself back into my groove, and it’s easier when I stop to breathe and forgive myself for going a little astray.

One practice that’s helping me is conscious relaxation. I remember what it’s like to be floating down a river, or in a soothing bath, just relaxing into the water. I imagine the gentle buoyancy holding me afloat, and I allow that sensation to flow through me, releasing the tension. I remember that my muscles don’t need me to hold them together through tension and pinching, and breathe deeply as I let go of that tension.

I haven’t been as dedicated with my yoga, and I let my mental habits tense me up more than I ought. But when I find myself tensing more as I upbraid myself about those lapses, I practice the buoyancy, and let it all go. My body has many years of practice in holding itself together, and it’s helping to free up that energy so I can use it to keep myself steady on this rolling, churning river of life.

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Changes to our environment have subtle effects on us. Soon they are no longer changes, but have become just more background hum running through our lives.

While we may not be consciously aware of these effects, our subconscious pays close attention to every tiny detail. If our environment has happy, friendly people, our subconscious begins to recognize that as normal. If we are surrounded by negative, violent people, our subconscious begins to recognize that as normal, too.

Our subconscious will also try to normalize our experiences to those expectations. It will help us see the good it feels we expect, as well as the bad. It can also help us say and do things, making choices that will continue to reinforce the good or bad that have become the baseline “normal” in our lives.

So it’s important to take a breath – a deep breath – and let it out slowly, paying attention to how we feel. As we breathe in, what kind of environment are we taking in? As we breathe out, what expectations are we sending out?

Taking a few of these moments a day for several days in a row should help us become more aware of this sea of experience we’re swimming in. Once we’re aware, we may make more conscious choices as to how we wish to experience our days to come.

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I wish that your life will feel greater, more complete, because of the day you’ve had today.

I wish that you will feel closer to your goals, if only by moments, and if only by understanding more of what it will take to keep moving toward them.

I wish that you will have a full minute of presence, with several full breaths of air you’re grateful to have the chance to breathe.

I wish you to know peace — if not completely, then just enough to remember what it’s like to pause within the moment.

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It’s been an interesting day to practice observing the present moment, and my presence within it. Every time I caught myself with a brief moment to spare, I tried to pause what I was thinking so that I could remember this big, beautiful world we live in.

I paused to be grateful for the chance to participate in this world, setting aside all of my judgment as to how well or how poorly I have fulfilled the opportunities it’s given me.

I paused to breathe in the air, and breathe it out, letting go of resistance to receiving as well as resistance to letting go.

I paused to feel my heart beat, and recognize it as a reflection of the living, breathing world that sustains me.

I paused to simply be a part of this world, and not in the very least apart from it.

With practice, being one with the present moment is easier than when I let myself practice forgetting it.

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I’ve still got that cough, and it occurs to me that I should probably summarize the cleansing breath that I mentioned in my last post, instead of just linking to a page that may not always be there.

The cleansing breath is a great way to nourish your mind and body with pure oxygen, and help your lungs clear out gunk and toxins. It’s great to do first thing in the morning, last thing at night, right before eating, before and after yoga or exercise, and frankly whenever you feel like it. Oxygen is pure life force, and we deserve to breathe in as much as we can remember to.

It’s good to do the cleansing breath standing up, but any generally relaxed position will do. First, exhale as much as you can, compressing your lungs to clear out the old air. Then, breathe in not-too-quickly, filling your lungs right up with air. Hold it for just a little while.

If your lungs are gunky or “stale”, you might cough a bit while you’re holding your breath up to the top of your lungs. That’s fine, clear it out, then try again. After holding the air just a bit, start to force the air out through pursed lips, keeping your cheeks pulled in (as opposed to puffed out, that is). Force the air out in short bursts, pulsing your diaphragm so that it compresses your lungs progressively from the bottom to the top.

If you’re like me, as the “short bursts” start to compress the air out from near the top of your lungs, that’s when you’re really likely to cough if you have anything to clear out. Light, shallow coughs can help the process of using the air to clean out your lungs. Just pay attention to your body and follow its cues. Don’t force anything unnatural, but don’t resist anything natural, either.

Hopefully this helps convey my understanding of the cleansing breath. May it serve you well!

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If you’re fighting a cold, I recommend a few little tips to keep it from getting into your lungs and making things worse:

  • Figure out if nasal irrigation is something that you’d do, at least for emergencies like keeping a cold from taking up residence.
  • Try sleeping on your side, tilting your head so drainage is less likely to go down your throat.
  • Take deep, cleansing breaths to fill up to the top of your lungs, then force the air out.  Be prepared for shallow to deep coughs, and ride them out, helping force the gunk up out of your lungs.

These have been helping me keep my cold from getting as terrible as it would be if I let it. May you make it through this cold/season as well as can be!

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