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  • Writer's pictureAnna Buchanan

Just Breathe...

Cleaning up my inbox the other day, this gem stood out: “What is the wisest one word sentence? Breathe.”

Breathing is fuel. It replaces the stale and stagnant with fresh and bright oxygen to energize and lift our spirits. Similar to throwing open the windows on the first nice day of springtime full, deep breaths are like our body's clean-up crew, giving us that healthy glow from the inside-out.

On a more subtle level, the breath is a bridge between our inner self and the outer environment. It’s a navigation tool to tell us how we really are inside. While we, smart humans, can smile and use words and body language to present ourselves to the outside world, our breath responds to how things truly are for us, despite appearances. We can’t separate ourselves from ourselves and our internal energy shows up in the quality of our breathing. Every time we take a moment to notice this, it’s an opportunity to develop mindful awareness of patterns not only in how we breathe, but also which situations make us hold our breath more and hold back, or conversely, make us feel open, relaxed and expressive. Essentially, how we breathe reveals how we show up to ourselves and to our lives, from the inside out.

What’s great about this is that we have approximately 15-25 opportunities every minute to check in. Our heart, lungs and diaphragm are a synchronistic team that rhythmically expand outward as we inhale and contract inward on exhalation, helping our subtle, inside selves to process experiences and encounters. Fun fact: the lung tissue’s surface area is approximately 30 times greater than that of our skin! Wow! That said, now imagine with every breath, if we were to magically grow ourselves 30 times bigger. How empowering, confident and full of presence we’d be!

With February being heart health month, spend a few moments to give attention to this simple action that often gets overlooked. Utilize this navigation tool to come home to yourself, take stock and become mindfully aware of what’s going on within. Then, mindfully put into action, that wisest one word sentence–and grow into a version of yourself that’s 30 times bigger!

As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.

-Jack Kornfield-

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