I am not good at sitting still. So, the thought of meditating for long periods of time makes me a little nauseous in general: however, after being truly tapped into my mind body connection over the last four years while teaching and practicing The Dailey Method, one thing I have learned is how important and powerful your breath can be- both to your exercise regimen, your posture, and your stress management. Breath is important for two reasons.
First, it is our bodies’ sole supplier of oxygen, one of the most vital nutrients to life. The brain requires more oxygen than any other organ. If it doesn't get enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts, depression and eventually, vision and hearing declines.
Secondly, Breathing is one of the ways to get rid of waste products and toxins from our body. The quickest and most effective way to purify the blood stream is by taking in extra supplies of oxygen from the air we breathe. We get more energy from our breathe than we even do by food! By purifying the blood stream, every part of the body benefits, as well as the mind.
Our breathing is an autonomic function in our body- we don’t necessarily have to tell our bodies to breathe. Breathing can become modified and restricted in various ways, not just momentarily but habitually- and these habits can happen completely unintentionally! As we get stressed our duties and responsibilities demand more from us, and our bodies and muscles tend to tense up. The muscles that move the thorax and control inhalation and muscular tenseness clamp down and restrict the exhalation. Our breaths in turn become shorter and shorter. After an extended period time, our whole system can become frozen in this posture. We become fatigued from the decreased circulation of blood due to the decreased availability of oxygen for the blood because we have almost stopped breathing. If we can learn to take the time for more intentional breath, throughout our days, we can help create more efficient breath, relieve stress, and reconnect with our bodies to focus on the positive energy we are bringing in.
This becomes important in our exercise practice, because if you can intentionally think of sending breath to the muscles you are working, you will help get deeper into your muscles, and get more out of any exercise you are doing. Even more important for our daily lives- if we don’t take the time to refocus on our mind/body connection through our breath, the breath will continue to become more and more restricted. My goal, and my challenge to you, is to give yourself one minute a day to stop and breathe. Sometimes it happens before going to sleep, or sometimes spontaneously in the middle of the day. Maybe it happens when waiting in line, or after parking my car, but most days for me it happens at the end of my Dailey Method practice. Simply close your eyes, and just think about your breath- I like to think about my breath starting both from the bottom up (from the pelvic floor up to my vocal diaphragms), and from the top down (vice versa). Think of your body as balloon- as your take in oxygen, let the balloon SLOWLY get as large as you can, and then even slower than that, let ALL the air out. Do this as many times as it takes you to release any tension you might be holding in, and use it as an opportunity to reset and focus inward on something positive. The more positive you think of, the more positive will come back to you… It’s the law of attraction
AUTHOR: Tina Anderson
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