The Breath of Life

“The Great Spirit is in all things, he is in the air we breathe.  The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother.  She nourishes us, that which we put into the ground she returns to us. . .”                              Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki Algonquin

The breath is a great example of how something can be right under our nose and we don’t realize how important it is.  A healthy mind and body require a healthy breath and most of us know little about this simple yet profound truth.  We all begin to hold or suppress our breath when trauma occurs in our life.  As children, even without serious trauma, breathing becomes suppressed with school and even as early as pre-school.  Here we have to watch our “p’s and q’s”, please the teacher and get along with our peers.  As we learn to hold our breaths in order to cope with the stresses of life our muscles become tight which creates more physical symptoms.  The pain that results causes us to hold our breath even more.  Opiates, the most often prescribed drug for pain, decreases respiration which can be very dangerous for some individuals.

Breathing improperly can bring on many emotional symptoms that include the following:

1)     Abrupt mood swings

2)     Forgetfulness

3)     Difficulty focusing

4)     Dangerous behavior

5)     Sleeping disorders

6)     Frequent crying

7)     Diminished sex drive or motivation for life

These are examples of situations that need to be breathed through long enough so that they lose their grip on emotions and behavior.  Breathing not only helps us let go negative thoughts ; it sets the stage for a meditative mind taking you beyond the boundary of self into the oneness of all that is.

How do we re-learn to breathe?  As anything, we practice it right as often as possible.  Many learn to breathe in order to stop a panic attack but forget to “slow down and breathe” in order to keep one from coming on.  Stopping to breathe right is extremely relaxing to the autonomic nervous system which affects our heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, and many other functions.

In order to learn to breathe fully so that oxygen moves as it should throughout the body focus on the area below your rib cage.  Relaxing the muscle that separates the chest from your abdomen will allow you to inhale more fully and exhale toxic thoughts out.  The diaphragm muscle is a dome-shaped cavity at the base of the lungs.  When we inhale fully from here, the stomach will expand, and when we exhale  from this power place of breathing,  we learn to balance mind and body with the breath.

If you place your hands on your heart you will take the peace you have achieved from the breath and pass it on to all other living things.  Focusing on the love in your heart will help you dissolve petty thoughts that do not benefit you.