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Breath The Day In Deeply
In sanskrit, the word for breath is the same as the word for life - prana. The first thing you do as you enter this world is to inhale. Your last act in this life is to exhale. When prana leaves the body, we die. The breath is a metaphor for life energy. The breath is seen as an important link between our body, our mind, and our spirit - moving from the purely physical realm, to the mental, to the spiritual.
Breathing is important for two reasons. It is the only means to supply our bodies and its various organs with the supply of oxygen which is vital for our survival. The second function of breathing is that it is one means to get rid of waste products and toxins from the body.
Oxygen is the most vital nutrient for our bodies. It is essential for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. We can do without food for weeks and without water for days, but without oxygen, we will die within a few minutes. If the brain does not gets proper supply of this essential nutrient, it will result in the degradation of all vital organs in the body. Oxygen is critical to our well-being, and any effort to increase the supply of oxygen to our body and especially to the brain will pay rich dividends.
Breathing is so simple and so obvious we often take it for granted, ignoring the power it has to affect body, mind and spirit. With each inhale we bring oxygen into the body and spark the transformation of nutrients into fuel. Each exhale purges the body of carbon dioxide, a toxic waste. Breathing also affects our state of mind. It can make us excited or calm, tense or relaxed. It can make our thinking confused or clear.
When you begin your day take in a deep breath and take in the moment.
Analyze your life in terms of your environment. Are the things around you helping you toward your success, or are they holding you back?
The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you're not going to stay where you are. You're not a captive of your environment.
If you don't like where you are, you can make some changes. You're not planted permanently in the ground like a tree. Don't say, "You would, if you could," start saying, "You will, because you can."
When you become a part of anything it becomes a part of you.
Max has written 425 articles, five books and has produced six audio programs on Internet relationship building, target marketing and personal motivation. His articles have been posted on over 65 web sites and in 11 publications. He's a contributing writer to many industry publications, a popular faculty member on most of the online Internet training platforms, and has been a guest speaker on numerous radio shows. Click here to order Max's Internet Power Pack.
In addition, breathing well is also beneficial in other ways. As Paul Wilson (Instant Calm: Over 100 Successful Techniques for Relaxing Mind and Body. London: Penguin Books, 1995, p. 58) observes, breathing “is the most vital of all bodily functions”, because “all other functions depend on it; not only does (it) give life, but it also enhances the quality of life… Your general health and well being, indeed, the way you think and your overall state of mind, are inextricably linked with the way you breathe... By being able to control your breathing, by harnessing this incredibly powerful life force, you can control the way you feel. You can find calm in times of stress. You can cope with almost any pressure.”
An Exercise in Breathing
1. Make sure your body is relaxed and your posture is straight.
2. Focus only on slowly breathing in and out. If necessary, close your eyes to block out visual distractions.
3. As you inhale, feel your chest/abdomen/ribcage expanding and air entering your lungs.
4. As you exhale, feel your chest/abdomen/ribcage contract, pushing the air from your lungs.
5. If necessary, place your hands on your chest/abdomen/ribcage to help you feel the movement of these parts of your body.
6. Continue with and enjoy this breathing exercise for a few minutes.
NB: - Forget the dictum of 'chest out, stomach in' as such a posture will create unnecessary tension in your body that will prevent proper breathing.
- When concentrating on your breathing, be careful not to hyperventilate.
An Exercise to Improve Your Posture
1. Stand with spine straight and feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your head level, and eyes and feet facing forward.
2. Slowly breathe in and out a few times, focusing on the quality of each breath.
3. On the next breath out, very slowly curl your torso forward one vertebra at a time, starting from your head, neck, shoulders, chest, belly and hips, until your torso is hanging over your legs. Coordinate the release of breath with the curling action. As you curl down, ensure that your legs are straight and your knees are soft and not locked.
4. As you breathe in, very slowly uncurl your torso in the reverse direction: hips first, then belly, chest, shoulders, neck, head. The last thing that should come up is your head. Again, coordinate the intake of breath with the uncurling action.
5. Repeat Points 3 to 4 a few times.
6. Imagine that you are a puppet and that the puppeteer’s string is controlling you from the topmost point of your head (when your head is held level). When you are standing upright, imagine that it is not your spine that is keeping you upright, but it is this string at the top of your head that is suspending you. You should feel that your spine then straightens effortlessly.
7. Imagine that the puppeteer suddenly cuts the string at the top of your head: you have no control over the top part of your body and it flops down into the hanging position (described in Point 3). As you flop over, let your breath come out in a quick rush. Remember to keep your knees loose.
8. Imagine that the puppeteer is pulling you upright from the string on the top of your head; as he/she pulls the string, you uncurl slowly vertebra by vertebra into an upright position. As you uncurl, slowly breathe in.
9. Repeat Points 6 to 8 a few times.
"Breath is the link between the inner and outer worlds."
-- Alice Christensen
We live in very demanding times, and our health depends on our being able to relieve our bodies and minds from constant stress. Breathing with awareness can focus and concentrate our attention inside. This slows down our pace and eases the pressure, anxiety, anticipation and excitement that are common stress reactions.
At any time, you can consciously experience your breathing to help you concentrate your mind and relax your body. Compare how you feel after your session with how you felt before. Write about your experience in your journal.
"Controlled deep breathing helps the body to transform the air we breathe into energy. The stream of energized air produced by properly executed and controlled deep breathing produces a current of inner energy which radiates throughout the entire body and can be channeled to the body areas that need it the most, on demand."
-- Nancy Zi
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