In previous posts, I discussed the use of conscious breathing to help you deal
with feelings of stress and pressure.
When you are feeling stressed, take a minute or so to focus on your breathing.
Gradually lengthen the cycles of your breathing. Notice how your feelings change,
and how the built up tension in your body begins to dissipate.
This same technique works for just about any type of emotion or state. For example,
if you are angry or upset, take a few minutes to gather yourself and regroup with
some cycles of conscious breathing. If you are feeling tired or sleepy, wake yourself
up with deep breathing.
There is another aspect to this type of breathing that is very beneficial as well.
One of the side benefits to conscious breathing is that it forces you to “be in the
moment”, at least for a few minutes or so.
Being in the moment refers to a total focus on now. You stop thinking about what
happened in the past, and you stop fretting about what may happen in the future, or
what you need to get done by x hour or date.
There is a concept in traditional martial arts called “beginner’s mind”. The Japanese
word for this is “soshin”.
As a beginner, the first time you do something you really have to concentrate and
focus in order to do it correctly. The idea of soshin is to continue to be like a beginner
when performing various tasks. No matter how trivial a task is, retain the mindfulness
of a beginner when performing it.
Have you ever engaged in some kind of creative work, or have you ever become so
engrossed in doing something, like playing and laughing with your kids, that you lost
all track of time?
This happened because you were living in the moment. You truly felt more alive and
energized by doing it.
It’s an incredible feeling, almost a state of flow.
This is one of the things I love about the martial arts. During hard training, you have to
concentrate 100% on the instructor’s commands and on your movements. When sparring
or fighting, you have to be totally focused on your opponent and your own strategy and
During these times, I lose all sense of obligations and responsibilites outside of the
training hall. I stop worrying about what needs to get done, or the latest problem or
issue. Although these things await me, for the moment I can just …. be. And enjoy!
Performing conscious breathing, or other types of deep breathing exercises, can
help you create these moments of presence. When you focus on your breathing and
on how your body feels in response to the breathing, you are in the moment.
And at least for this moment, you forget about responsibilities, issues, and demands.
You stop dwelling on health problems or aches and pains. And you help yourself to
relax and feel more calm, regardless of what is going on around you.
Breathing exercises and being in the moment are not instant cures for all that ails
you. But awareness of your breathing and of the current moment can help you
lead a calmer, more relaxing and healthier life.
I encourage you to put these two concepts to work by making them a regular part
of your life.
You Can Do It!
Karen Van Ness
P.S. Learn more about how to put breathing to work for you by securing your
copy of the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course. The specific
movements coupled with complete breathing will invigorate, rejuvenate and
relax your body and mind.