The Season of Giving

We’re now roaring full speed ahead into the Holiday Season.

This weekend we will be decorating and putting up lights. Already
started the shopping and preparations for Christmas, which we
will be sharing with my parents and brother. Hanukkah is here.

Wow! Where did the year go?

Whether or not they celebrate Christmas, or Hanukah, or Kwanzaa,
most people I know are getting into the spirit of the season.

Some of the hallmarks of the season include the giving of gifts,
the expression of gratitude and joy, and the renewed commitment
to make more time for family and friends.

These are fundamental concepts that we (hopefully) carry over to
our regular lives, during the rest of the year.

Here’s something I’ve noticed over the years: each of these
hallmarks can serve as a metaphor for healthy breathing….and
vice versa.

Let’s start with the spirit of giving, which is a central theme
of the holidays.

Each relationship in our lives involves both giving and receiving.
To successfully build the relationships that are the most
important to you, I think you would agree that giving has to come

You have to give the gifts of interest, time, genuine concern,
support, respect, and so forth, to truly develop a friendship,
love relationship, or relationship with a family member.

You give these things knowing that, if the relationship is a
good one, you will receive as much, if not more, as what you

The same principle holds true for breathing.

It’s the natural order that you first have to exhale before you
can fully inhale.

Imagine trying to take a full, complete, free breath without first
exhaling completely. It’s not possible.

Yet, that is how many of us breathe. We focus on the inhale rather
than the exhale. Likewise, we often focus on what we are receiving,
or wish to receive, ahead of what we are giving or releasing.

We try to fill ourselves and our lives with breath, or energy, or
material things, without taking the required step of releasing and
letting go.

When you work on improving your breathing, one of the first things
you should do is learn to focus on your exhale. From the basic to
the most advanced breathing methods and techniques, you’ll often
see more emphasis placed on the exhale.

This is because, if you get the exhale right, the inhale will
usually (99.999% of the time) take care of itself.

Both volumes of the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise
include exercises in which you count longer on the exhale than
on the inhale.

In other exercises, you exhale forcefully, sometimes accompanied
by holding your breath. This helps free up your inhalations and
provides a natural ventilation effect.

Being able to breathe fully and completely, including a robust
and thorough exhale, is one of the keys to good health and high
levels of energy. Even if you have a chronic health condition,
or suffer from chronic stress, you can improve your health by
leaps and bounds by simply focusing on your breathing.

Exhalation accompanies feelings of releasing and letting go.
Think about when you give someone a gift, and you’re not quite
sure whether they will like it. Don’t you kind of hold your
breath, at least a little?

When the recipient opens the gift and responds with a genuine
smile or exclamation, indicating they really like the gift,
you let loose, exhale and relax.

The importance of being able to release and let go is a powerful
principle, and a prerequisite for successful renewal or change.
Think about where you would be in your life right now, if you
had never been able to let go of your old thoughts, attitudes,
biases, or unsuccessful patterns of behavior.

Think about what you might be able to accomplish in the new
year, if you are willing to let go of limiting thoughts or
beliefs, to “release and think anew”, and to see your life
with fresh eyes.

You Can Do It!

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2010

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