“For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
It’s so easy to take the magic of the body for granted. It is, after all, designed to function without too much work from us. Our hearts beat thousands of times each day, our eyes blink, our lungs fill and empty. All these things will happen whether you pay attention or not. And good thing, because it might be hard to get anything else done if we had to focus on all that! But what happens when we bring awareness, joy and gratitude to this moment-to-moment magic that is a intrinsic part of our physical life?
As a doula, I am blessed to witness the power of our intuitive selves as people bring babies into the world. I trust birth, and I trust the body and spirit to be up to the task. But it is hard, demanding, sometimes exhausting work. And often the tool that can see a woman through is careful attention to her breath. As she tunes in to her inhales and exhales, she can ride the waves of the surges of labour without being overwhelmed by them. The breath keeps her anchored in the moment and gives her strength. I can’t recommend a prenatal yoga practice heartily enough to expectant families- it can be truly instrumental in a happy and satisfying birth experience.
If the breath can see us through these challenging and transformative experiences, then of course in our daily lives it can also bring about a change in the way we see things. Taking a few moments, especially in the midst of difficulty, to focus on this simple process, can help us to see a situation in a new light and to approach it more calmly.
Take a moment, wherever you re, to close your eyes and observe, without judgement or change, your breath. Where is it happening in the body? Is it rapid or slow, deep or shallow? Then begin to deepen your breath, feeling the belly soften and move forward as it fills with breath, the rib cage inflating all the way to the collarbones. Then release the breath, feeling the shoulders relax, the natural tone of the abdomen as you press all the air out of the lungs. Repeat this ten times, in stillness, feeling that each breath out removes obstacles, releases tension, clears out physical and emotional stress; each breath in invites brightness, goodness and newness into your body and your life. As you move through all the events of your day, the hard and the easy, try to bring some awareness to this essential process that we often don’t give the attention it deserves. See how things might change when you take the time to nourish yourself with mindful breath.