Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
A bunch of neighbors and I were out last night during the brief, beautiful snowstorm.
Do you breathe? I mean, really breathe? I try to remember how much it helps everything, no matter the situation, to take two or three deep breaths. Mindful breathing is the foundation for so many helpful practices, from yoga to prayer to meditation, also every kind of athletic endeavor, not to mention the making of music. Even whistling depends on breath. A sigh, a whisper, the sensation of someone blowing gently into the ear - all of these depend on breath.
If you stop breathing, you will be dead in a matter of minutes. Breathing is the most crucial living act.
Did you know that when you breathe, your ribcage expands, each rib tilts outwards and lifts? Your trunk elongates and the curves in your spine straighten slightly. Inhalation means that your big ole tough diaphram has dropped, creating a vacuum so air rushes into your lungs. Exhaling, though it feels easier (at least to me), is a forceful act: the diaphram lifts, pushing air out.
Ah sweet breath. I'm thinking about it today because yesterday the osteopath, who worked hard on me for a long time, explained that my shoulder girdle and ribs were so screwed up, I haven't really been capable of a true, deep breath for awhile now. He even asked if I'd been punched in the chest recently. Hmmm ... in a manner of speaking, yes. That dragon-arrow of the eclipse literally passed straight through my heart, apparently, wreaking havoc as well as inspiring awe. Wow. Such is the way of dragons.
Not being able to breathe accounts for my creeped out moods of late, for the nightmares and such. I am so grateful for my marvelous health care practitioners. Bowing low in thanks for the art/science of osteopathy, breathing deeply - and easily - this morning. Everything seems better. It's incredible how much can change simply by addressing physiology. Thank God!