Finding the Rhythm in Your Breath
Focusing on your breath can be a truly empowering experience.
You may have a tendency to discount the power of noticing
and using the rhythm of your breath because your breath is
so much a part of you. It might just seem too simple.
Ordinarily, of course, your breath works in the automatic
mode. Thank goodness for that! If your breathing needed your
constant attention, you would not have time for other adventures.
As an intentional practice, for short periods of time, giving
your full attention to your breathing can be a very powerful,
brief meditation. A "short period of time" might
* By numbers of breaths, for example, three in-breaths and
* In minutes, for example, one minute or two or three; or
* By the time viewed through or measured by an event, for
example, sitting at a traffic stop light.
Choose whatever measurement you want, and then practice focused,
intentional breathing many times throughout the day. This
practice will keep you balanced, filled with extra oxygen
to help you to maintain greater stamina.
One interesting dynamic to notice is the actual shift between
automatic and intentional breathing, in other words, notice
the movement or transition from automatic (unconscious) breathing
to intentional (conscious) breathing and vice versa.
In addition, notice that your breath becomes different when
you are giving your full attention to it. I have read that
humans use different muscles when breathing in these two different
ways. Perhaps that is true. My own personal opinion is that
you use the same muscles, but you use them differently in
these two modes. I consider that this is similar to the difference
between using your gluteus maximus muscles to walk down a
hill as compared to walking up a hill.
Another dynamic to pay attention to is the pace or rhythm
of your breath. There are many aspects of the breath that
you can give your attention to. The rhythm of the breath is
only one. It is one I particularly like because it has a discernible
resonance. Examples of other dynamics are texture, sound,
depth, length, evenness.
I like to help people to find the rhythm of their breath because
it helps them to attune to other rhythms and movement in their
lives. For example, they might notice a particular breathing
pattern that is replicated in other situations. After making
the association, they change the rhythm in the breath, usually
rather easily, and then they notice that changes in the other
situations follow naturally.
I notice this correlation frequently with my clients. Of course,
discerning such connections does require the ability to read
subtle energies. Usually, after I have identified and articulated
the correlation to my clients, they relate to the idea. The
key is to make changes in the least invasive, most natural
ways. Here are two specific examples:
Deidra was having trouble communicating with her boss, characterized
by interrupting each other and half-stated ideas. I noticed
in her breathing the same pattern of hesitation and shortness,
as if she rarely completed either the in-breath or the out-breath.
I suggested some exercises that helped her to be more aware
of the rhythm of her breathing, which helped significantly,
along with some other strategies, to manage herself more effectively
with respect to her boss.
Tom had great difficulty when we had to stand in front of
a group to speak. He felt unbalanced and had less acute thinking.
This, by the way, is a very common dynamic as many people
find stand-up presentations stressful. I decided to start
with the easiest strategy: some simple breathing exercises
to neutralize the old pattern and establish a new rhythm.
He practiced daily, and especially before each presentation.
The difficulty ceased immediately.
Sometimes the simplest strategies are the most powerful. So,
remember to breathe! And, even more specifically, remember
to find the rhythm in your breath.
Copyright © 2006 Marshall House. All rights reserved.
Voice of Jeanie Marshall http://www.jmvoice.com.
Article Source: Self
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