photoStop.  No, really stop.  Stop thinking, doing, moving.  Notice your body’s position.  Sit up a bit straighter.  Feet on the floor.  Hands relaxed on your lap. 

Now, notice your breath.  Notice the rise and fall of your chest…the in and out of your abdomen.  Listen to the sound your breath makes as it moves into your nostrils and out through your throat and mouth.

Take a deep breath in through your nose.  Fill your lungs.  Pause.  Let the air go through your mouth, making a soft ahh sound at the back of your throat.  Pause and repeat.

Breathe in…Breathe out.  Notice your body softening, your spine relaxing, your shoulders dropping, the stress leaving your neck and abdomen.

Feel yourself letting go of your thoughts….your busy brain focused only on the sound of your breath.

Be present in and to this moment, to your deepest self, to your life breath.  Spend as much time as you wish here.

Life at its core: this is what it’s about.  Full consciousness of self, breathing life in and breathing stress out.  Yet we often take no time to experience our breaths.  We move frenetically from bed to bathroom to coffee to shower to car to work and back.  How many of us are conscious of taking a really deep breath or two in process?

All worthwhile activity of the brain or of the body begins with our hearts breathing life in and letting go of attachments as we breathe out.  By our breath we make space for our heart to expand.  In that expansion our hearts inform us of sensations and feelings that we miss when we’re running too fast.  We let go of our heads ruling us and give attention to our yearning hearts.  We encounter and address uncomfortable feelings that are trying to tell us we may be out of balance and in need of some time to breathe ourselves back into harmony.

Forest StreamIn this moment how is your body telling you that you need to breathe?   What is your spirit saying when it’s caught short of life-giving breath?  How does it feel when you take in the life you need to extend throughout your body, mind and spirit?  What would it be like to start your day with this breathing practice, to take two minutes from each hour to breathe, to end your waking day with the celebration of life’s breath?


original artwork copyrighted by the artist Michael Parise