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Breathing in the New Year
Patricia F. Glenn, Ed. S.

The New Year brings about the opportunity for new beginnings. People focus on resolutions and making improvements. The #1 area where many people place their focus is on their health. You may have heard, “I will lose 20 pounds in 5 days”, “I am going to run a marathon next month even though I don’t run now”, or some other great feat with the aim of quick results in a short period of time. By March, 80% of people have abandoned their New Year’s resolution because they set out on an unattainable path. With that in mind, let’s consider a new approach to bringing in the New Year and creating the change you desire.

One of the easiest ways to improve your physical, emotional, and spiritual health is through breathing. Now you may think “Duh” I breathe every day so what is the big deal. Well, all breathing is not created equal. Often due to our lifestyles and habits, we make poor use of our breathing capacity. High stress, overbooked schedules, poor diet, and pollution all negatively impact our breathing and breathing habits.

Thankfully, our bodies are designed to provide continuous breaths in order to keep us alive but we can actively do more to ensure we live well and not just live. As we move through our daily lives, we frequently forget that we are human beings, not human doings, or human achievings. Though our body’s ability to breathe is on auto pilot, when stressed, our exhale tends to be shallow.  Breathing is one way the body removes airborne pollutants. When we hold our breath or the breathing becomes constricted, toxins are not expelled from the body. Proper breathing supports better lung function and immunity support. Disease (dis-ease) cannot live in a highly oxygenated body.

Conscious connected breathing is a simplistic way to enhance the overall well being of your body, mind, and spirit. This breathing technique has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, minimize anxiety, strengthen the immune system, and increase your energy level.

Unlike the traditional approaches to improving one’s health, no special location, specific equipment, or money is needed. You can breathe any where. Whether you have just a few minutes or can devote an hour for rejuvenation, conscious connected breathing is the perfect companion. The more time spent on conscious breathing, the greater the noticeable impact and benefit.

Select a time and location where you may relax and have some uninterrupted time to be present with yourself. This could be in the morning before starting your day, while sitting behind your desk, or in the evening prior to falling asleep. Dress comfortably to avoid air constriction. You may sit up or lie down with your eyes open or closed.

Begin breathing at your regular pace. Inhale and exhale through your mouth. The pace of your breathing should be consistent on both the inhale and exhale. Think of creating an unbroken circle of air as you breathe. Try to extend your exhale slightly to allow more carbon dioxide to be released from your body. Develop a steady pace that is comfortable for you. As you begin to breathe, focus on allowing your thoughts to leave your mind. Thoughts will naturally come but allow them to float away. Continue to bring your attention back to your breath as each new thought appears.

Once you determine a breathing rhythm that feels comfortable, you may gradually increase the pace of your breathing. The increased airflow may cause a tingling sensation in your body. This is the vibration of your cells becoming highly oxygenated. Be careful not to speed up your exhale beyond that of your inhale to avoid hyperventilation.

Establish a pace based on your present need. If you are preparing for bed, then slow and steady will help quiet your mind and allow for restful sleep. This is also effective for combating stressful events to reduce anxiety and allow you to refocus your thoughts. A faster pace is great to recharge your energy at that mid-day slump or if you have experienced an upset and want to move through the pain or anger more quickly.

There is never a wrong time to breathe, but as you begin to add conscious connected breathing to your life, do it gradually and sit with how you feel. Observe your mood, attitude, appetite, and mental focus throughout the next 24 hour period. Try variations in speed to determine which feel the best. After fast paced breathes, be easy on yourself, give your body and mind time to adjust to the increased oxygen.

May the New Year bring you all that you desire and may your resolutions begin with the breath of life to support your overall well being.

© Copyright 2009 Patricia F. Glenn, Ed, S. All Rights Reserved.

Patricia F. Glenn, Ed, S., is the President and Founder of Practice in Motion Training Institute, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. Practice in Motion empowers and equips families to better care for children with special needs. Its staff is trained in many therapeutic disciplines to serve children from preschool through young adulthood. For more information on these or other topics about family coaching and support, visit www.practiceinmotion.com, www.pimtraininginstitute.com, or email practiceinmotion@gmail.com.

Patricia is also the author of The New Revelations Companion Guidebook in collaboration with Neale Donald Walsch. To find out more about the book and hear an audio synopsis visit http://www.schoolofthenewspirituality.com/NewRevelations.aspx

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