Friday, January 10, 2014

BREATHING: INHALATION AND INSPIRATION





Breathing

In
Out
In
Out

We take breathing for granted.

Yet we all appreciate a deep breath.
We take a deep breath before the big plunge, the angry answer, the hard conversation, the important presentation. Often in my classroom I would have a student take a deep breath while they were crying or angry or had hurt feelings.  This provided them a minute to calm themselves and collect their thoughts.

We take a deep breath to clear our minds, open our hearts,  energize our thoughts,  settle our being.

The one thing I miss most about smoking is taking that first deep breath and having the air (and smoke) hit my lungs (I smoked for thirty years and quit in 2001, but that is  food for a different post.)

Experts say we don't breath deeply enough.   Harvard Health Newsletter encourages us to Take a Deep Breath:
Proper breathing goes by many names. You may have heard it called diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, or belly breathing. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and you will notice that your lower belly rises. The ability to breathe so deeply and powerfully is not limited to a select few. This skill is inborn but often lies dormant. Reawakening it allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms. (May 2009)

Many healing activities involve slow, deep, cleansing breaths. One of the  ways we are called to mindfulness in both physical exercise and spiritual meditation is to attend to our breathing

Breathe in for the exertion and  breathe out for the release.
Breathe in for the first part of the prayer or mantra and breathe out for the last part.
In
Out
Repeat
Repeat.

On his website The Art and Science of Breathing, Dr. Andrew Weil offers several breathing exercises to reduce stress and anxiety, as  mental energizers, to promote healthy breathing, and as an aid to enlightenment.

Lynn G. Nelson also promotes conscious, controlled breathing for well-being and better writing. After outlining steps for a deep, focused breathing exercise in Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling, he summarizes the benefits:
Your journal  and  your breathing, your writing and your being, work hand in hand, each helping the other. Use this exercise often, in relation to specific issues and simply as regular writing-relaxation exercise activity. As you do this, you will notice your writing and  your breathing and your being become lighter and freer. 
Throughout his book he offers both writing and breathing exercises that lead to relaxation, powerful self-discovery,  and meaningful, authentic writing.

My father can't breathe right now.
He is in ICU on a ventilator.  It regulates his breath and breathes for him.
He has been unable to pass the weaning trials that would allow the doctors to remove the breathing tube.

We sit in his room and watch his breathing and ask questions about his breathing, and pray about his breathing.

We are acutely aware of breathing, his and our own.
We want him to breathe again.

Breathing
In
Out
In
Out
Repeat
Repeat


In the Columbus Area Writing Project Summer Institute, we do a lot a breathing. One of our co-directors, Kevin Cordi, makes certain that we take time to breathe in, breathe out throughout our day.
Click here to read my  poem, Breathing  In and Breathing Out written for Kevin on his 40th birthday.  


Breathing
In
Out
In
Out
Repeat
Repeat


 Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

Pay attention to your own breathing. You  may want to try one of the breathing exercises suggested on Dr. Weil's website.

Write about your experience. What did you notice about your breathing?  What thoughts occurred as you are minding your breath? What surprises you about the experience?

Write a poem or essay about breathing.

No comments:

Post a Comment