Breath & The Art of Being Awesome

by P. Braithwaite

Did I ever tell ya’ll how I used to have a personal trainer? I was preparing to run my first half-marathon, and I needed a trainer to push me toward my goals. She’d twist me into positions and push me beyond my limits. I, never wanting to look like a weakling, would strive and strain to meet her challenges. I’d grab the weights and jump around squinting and grunting (and sometimes crying) my way through it.

“Don’t forget to breathe,” she’d warn me.

And, inadvertently, I’d realize I’d stopped breathing.

It seems that breathing is something I often forget to do. When challenges arise, I get busy. I use my brainpower to figure out best practices, and when that doesn’t work, I cry. I get frantic and, because I’m kinda smart, I can often pull a solution together. In the obstacle course called life, I do all the things I used to do with my trainer, but sometimes I forget to breathe.

It’s true. I do…

I’m not talking about the shallow involuntary breaths that keep us from passing out, I’m talking about deep conscious breaths that bring stillness to every cell — the breaths that tie us to the present moment.

Deep breathing helps release toxins and tension in the muscles. Deep breaths boost our immune system and help us manage pain. They can energize us or calm us depending on the technique. Deep breathing is vital to our wellness, and yet we often just scratch the surface. We take shallow breaths in between obligations that pull at us, and we wonder why we’re tired and depleted.

Every cell in our bodies is crying out for air.

Today, I create space to take deep and deliberate breaths. I inhale and exhale knowing that I am capable of releasing what does not serve me and embracing what nurtures my health. I deserve quality breaths. Breathing is an obligation for mindful living.

Are you breathing deeply?

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