When you stop and think about it, breathing is really amazing. It happens naturally and we take it for granted. That is until it becomes difficult or stops. Have you ever asked yourself ‘who in me breathes?’ Plants, animals and our whole Earth breathes. In this sense we hare the Earth’s breath. We are part of the Earth’s breath. The quality of your Qi (or life force) has a lot to do with how you breathe. In fact it’s not just your lungs that breathe, but your whole body. Every cell that you are is nourished by your breath. Your Qi is nourished by your breath along with the food you eat. Being aware of this nourishment in this moment, amplifies it. So bring yourself back to this moment and notice your breathing.
Here is a little meditation on breathing.
* stand or sit comfortably. Unlock your joints and make them soft. Notice any tension in your body. Just notice it and don’t try to change it.
- now notice your breath. Focus on your out breath and breathe out fully. Notice how your belly expands naturally with you breathing in. Don’t try hard to breathe in. Rather hold your focus on breathing out fully.
- Straighten up your posture and notice if it changes your breathing. But remember to stay soft through all this. Soft focus, soft breath,soft body, and just notice.
- Allow yourself to breath out fully, until a natural point of change is reached. Don’t try to change your inbreath, just watch it.
- Make note of how your whole body feels – head, shoulders, back, spine, arms, legs etc.
Do this for 5 mins and take a break. Open your eyes if you have them closed, and enjoy ‘not doing’. Then bring yourself back to your breath and repeat.
This is a powerful mindfulness training to bring yourself back to the present moment. You, your breath, your body, the Earth all breathing, all sharing. Nature is ever changing and sometimes we get a little stuck in our identity. Attachment to our identity limits our ability to flow with nature. Sometimes we struggle to meet the challenge and we get sick. This simple practice helps to free up our attachments to our expectations and belief systems by helping us notice that we are here in this moment. One step at a time, one day at a time.
In Chinese Medicine such breathing exercises are called ‘Qi Gong’ – Qi means life force and ‘Gong’ means to cultivate. Acupuncture is another form of Qi Gong, as it too helps to cultivate your life force and flow, in alignment with nature. Exercise, meditation, acupuncture and diet are all important in your self care.