For some reason breathing doesn’t seem to come natural to me. I always find myself holding my breath. Maybe it is a habit I picked up when I was terrified of the dark as a kid. I can remember being so scared that I would literally sweat. I was sure there was something watching me – never figured out exactly what – and that as long as I appeared to be asleep I was safe. That was my little kid theory. So I laid perfectly still afraid to move or breathe encircled by my stuffed animals for protection. I don’t remember exactly how long this went on for, but I do remember that when the Nightmare on Elm Street movie came out I was totally freaked because it turned my theory on its head. Awake or asleep the bad things were gonna get me.
Learning to breathe, and breathe deeply, has been one of the best lessons I discovered. It seems like such a no-brainer: breathing is a good thing. But apparently we take that vital part of wellness for granted. I first learned to focus on my breathing in yoga class. I also learned the importance of breathing in meditation, pilates, and some breathing exercises on tape. Now I look for as many opportunities as I can to breathe, really breathe. I focus on my breathing when I go for walks too. I can feel the difference it makes in calming my stressed out body and mind. This is important for healing because relaxation puts your body in its self-healing mode. The opposite happens when we are stressed out. It seems that the more I do it, the easier it gets. It occurs to me more often now that I should breath. And when I do, I am able to create a calm, healing moment in my day – just by breathing.