Sunday, August 7, 2016

It's More About the Breath than You Might Think

Recently, I became ill after being at a family gathering at an Oklahoma lake on the Fourth of July weekend.  It was a painful experience caused by contracting a parasite in the lake water that affected my stomach and small intestine along with shutting down my colon.  The pain felt severe, and I found myself constantly gripping my hands and gathering my knees into my chest.  I realized that my breath was erratic and tight in my upper chest; no longer was I belly breathing, nor using my diaphragm to deep breathe on the inhale and relax on the exhale.

The more pain I experienced, the more shallow my breath became and anxious my mind became.  As a yoga instructor, I teach breath practice on a daily basis.  However, the pain caused me to forget the pattern of breathing deeply and slowly to create a relaxation response in my body.

I even wondered, "Why me?"  How could this happen to me?  I was healthy, ate a very healthy diet, exercised on a regular basis, meditated daily, slept and rested, was not overly stressed.

As a person who believes that everything happens for a reason, I can honestly say five weeks later that I learned a lot about pain plus the body's reaction to it.  We simply stop breathing deeply and evenly when the body experiences trauma.  This, in turn, creates more stress for the nervous system and creates a downward spiral or cycle of more tension.

What if we focused more on the breath and less on the movement?  What if we noticed our breath as much as we observe the thoughts of our mind?  What if our pain is intensified by not breathing?

How could God use this experience to teach me a new lesson?

Breathe in; breathe out more slowly.  It's more important than you think.

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