I never thought in a million years I would end up teaching myself how to breathe properly! Not to mention, I used to actually make good money teaching women how to breathe right. Our very first action here on earth right after birth is to take a good deep breath. There is a reason for that. It brings life. One would think as an automatic function of the body it would be something we would not really have to think about. This is not so and I will explain to you why.
- Women spend a lifetime learning to suck in their stomach! Think about this one for a minute if you will! I’m willing to bet you have been taught to hold your stomach in because it is lady like to do so. Not only that, you have been bombarded with advertisement all of your life that tells you women should have a flat flat stomach. Am I right about this? (I’m not putting down those who have a flat stomach, that is great! I am saying it really should not be a requirement). If you have had kids like I have, it is going to take a whole lot more than just sucking in the air and tucking it all into your jeans! (Contact your fitness coach about this one!) Admit it; you have spent a lifetime learning to make sure that roll in your tummy does not exist by sucking in your stomach. Women pour themselves into clothing that causes us to have to almost turn blue. Have you ever seen those new whole upper body garments that help women make their shape look more hour glass? I think to myself, “Right, that is going to make me feel 100% great while I spring out of the house turning blue from the, “ah hem“, pressure! Honey, this has got to stop!
- The anxieties we attach ourselves to in this world cause us to pause our breathing way too much. So, now check this one out! Think about the next time you feel fear, anxiety, or some worry. (Heck, even when good things are happening and excitement takes over we do the same thing). What is the first thing that happens? You hold your breath or breathe very shallow! Witness this in yourself. When you get upset or anxious, just notice your breathing! It becomes shallow and sometimes you might even hold your breath all together. You know this is “truth” here and I feel you nodding!
So, work with me right here and now. Take a moment and completely exhale. Then push your tummy all the way out while slowly breathing in. Now when you exhale, slowly breathe out and then let your tummy just move out to where it is comfortable. Doesn’t that feel heavenly? This relaxes the entire body! Promise me here; for the duration of this article, keep your tummy in the relaxed position. It’s ok! I won’t tell anyone! *wink*
I’ve heard it said that it takes at least 21 days to create a habit. Just think of all of the 21 day segments that have been in your lifetime in order to create the habit of breathing too shallow, holding your breath, or sucking in your stomach until you almost have to breathe into your chest. Honey, life is stressful enough without keeping this habit. I mean, just thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner sometimes sends me over the edge! I’m not going to advocate that you work on this for a strict 21 days. If you are like me, you might not even complete it that way. But, I am asking you to try to be mindful of your breathing. You can create a new habit of breathing right.
Here are some suggestions.
While driving, remind yourself to breathe. I always tend to breathe in my chest when I am in traffic. Chest breathing or upper body breathing does not allow enough oxygen to the body and brain cells. When you lay down to sleep or take a nap, breathe deep and then blow it out. When you wake up in the morning, let a descent breath be your first priority before your feet hit the floor. When showering breathe in and out the good steam in the shower and let it clear out your sinus cavity for the day. We live in a world filled with toxins and pollution. Let your shower time be a time for a clean body and clean air. Right in the middle of reading, writing, or paying bills, breathe deeply and slowly. Put messages on your phone and computer desktop to remember to breathe! Schedule a phone reminder to beep every hour or so and take the time to breathe right. Let your body relax into life. A life at ease is one with less stress and physical problems. If you remember just some of these suggestions you will begin a new breathing habit. Trust me in this; your body will thank you!
Pass this article on to a few of your fellow breathers. I promise you all, a little more oxygenation will bring a lot more vitality!
Inviting a breath of fresh air,
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
**Photo credit from Dollar Photo Club