Remember to Breathe

Most spiritual and esoteric traditions have studies that focus on the breath. That is because the breath is everything. Think about it. If you stop breathing, what happens? You die. 

But what if you only stop breathing for a short time? Well, you die just a little. Or more specifically, your body can seize up and stop functioning at an efficient pace. Systems will start shutting down and you will experience problems in doing things.

One problem that I have found in myself, and other artists I have talked to, is unknowingly holding our breath when confronted with some sort of problem or decision. Surprisingly, when things become difficult, we often do the opposite of what we need to do: we hold our breath instead of deepening our breath.

When we hold our breath, our muscles tend to tighten. This can cause various problems. Besides making our movements stiffer (especially fine motor skills), tightened muscles can restrict the blood flow, which then affects all of our organs and systems, especially the brain. This brain fog diminishes our ability to get out of the situation we are in.

Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and similar practices can be beneficial because they often focus on the breath and making us aware of our breathing. 

The next time you find yourself in a difficult spot where you are stuck, unsure, or questioning your art, stop and pay attention to your breathing. Are you holding it? Are you tensing up? Even if you are not holding your breath, try breathing in a more conscious manner, elongating your breath, slowing and calming yourself. How do you feel after that?

While breathing is automatic, and something we normally don't pay attention to, learning to consciously breathe can make a big difference in our lives.

~ MB


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