Let Your Breath
Mar 22, 2021
I recently posted a video on YouTube about whisper counting, a way to strengthen the diaphragm and soothe the nervous system. This particular video seemed to catch unusual traction in views and comments the day it came out and I think it’s because we want to breathe and many of us are trying to figure out how.
We are living in an anxiety filled, stressed out world. And because of this, we aren’t breathing. Yes, we are “breathing” but we aren’t really letting breath happen. We are holding our breath, we are taking our breath under tension, we are trying to catch our breath, but most of us are not allowing our breath.
We live in uncertain times. The reality is, we always have, but now we know it. This knowledge is stressful for many of us. This stress, wanting to write a script we cannot, wreaks a subtle yet catastrophic havoc on how we breathe. We hold tension in our bodies, our abdomen, our chest, our throat, and our diaphragm. As a result we take, catch, steal, hold and shortchange our breath. This further perpetuates the stress and anxiety our nervous system is dealing with and this causes a cyclical relationship between breathing anxiety and experiencing anxiety.
I did say “breathing anxiety.” How we breathe can actually stress our nervous system out. And that’s unfortunate because the stress we experience can cause us to breathe in a stress inducing way. Breathing anxiety patterns might look like the following:
- Rapid and shallow chest breathing
- Mouth breathing
- Neck and shoulder breathing
- Gasping to breathe while talking
- Breath holding
- Labored or forced inhale
- Short and fast exhale
The point is, many of us don’t breathe well. And breath is literally and figuratively life to us. Breathing keeps us alive, but how we breathe invigorates or drains how we live. If we are breathing well, we soar through life with vitality, energy, peace, and joy. If we breathe poorly, we limp through life with fear, pain, and suffering.
We need to breathe well. We want to breathe well. None of us want fear, pain and suffering. None of us would willingly choose this. What if enjoying life, or finding peace and joy were more involved than making a choice to do so? What if the how we breathed influenced our choices, our perceptions, our emotions, our thoughts, and our experiences?
We need to find our breath and remember how to let breath happen. To do this we need to let go. We need to let go of the tension in our bodies and the worries in our minds. And, we need to remind the diaphragm how to invite air in and how to usher air out.
Here is one way to do it:
- Get in a comfortable position with a tall spine.
- Whether you are sitting or standing, be tall.
- Relax your body as much as possible. Let go of all the tension you can find.
- Relax your mind as much as possible. Let go of thoughts - allow them, just don’t cling to them
- Breathe in through your nose.
- As you exhale, whisper something you want repeatedly until there is no air left to whisper.
- For example, “I am safe. I am safe. I am safe. I am safe...” Or, “I am strong. I am strong. I am strong. I am strong...”
- This is how you let go of worries. Fill your mind and heart with what you do want so that the worries flow out of you.
- This is also how you teach the diaphragm how to usher air out of your lungs.
- Again, whisper your want repeatedly until there is no air left to comfortably whisper.
- Then, let the air rush into your lungs and feel them fill from the bottom all the way to the top.
- This is breath happening - allowing breath to happen.
- This is how you teach your diaphragm to invite air into your lungs.
This may seem odd, but this is a way you can find your true breath. It’s a simple breathing technique that can change everything about you - how you interact with and experience the world. It’s not just about letting breath happen, it’s about letting joy, peace and vitality happen, too. It’s about truly living one breath at a time.
You owe it to yourself to try this. Here’s a video if it helps: