Thankfully, for many of us, fresh air and breathing normally are things we don’t really have to think about. Breath and life go hand in hand carrying us through this earth journey. We employ many practices to ensure health and well being, but one extraordinary health-giving benefit we tend to overlook is the combined healing power of breath and movement. Deeper breathing purifies the blood, restores normal blood circulation, and strengthens the nerves, the heart and the thinking capacity of the brain. The lungs are the dynamos of the whole body machine!

I teach an ancient non-aggressive, martial art form called Tai Chi. It has been referred to as meditation in motion, and in fact, has the appearance of a meditative dance. Correct breathing is a very important component of my practice. The movements in Tai Chi are circular and fluid and the rhythm of breath intrinsic to the flow. This rhythm comes to us naturally as newborns. If you observe infants breathing, their stomachs expand while inhaling and release while exhaling.

Calm deep breathing is our birthright. Over time most of us reverse this process as we wrestle with the cares of life and our breathing becomes shallow. Practicing a basic breathing meditation can deliver untapped strength and
become a source of pleasure to carry with you always. There are several ways to position yourself as you begin your practice. Start by sitting on a chair or on a pillow on the floor with your legs crossed in a lotus position with the wall supporting your back or rest your back on the floor, legs straight. The important thing is that you are comfortable. Inhale and exhale through your nose and quietly observe how each breath feels. Notice changes in your breathing as you give it your awareness. When your mind drifts, gently bring it back to focusing on the breath. If you start with a
10-minute practice, you can gradually work your way to 15 and then 20 minutes. Stretch at the end of your session and if you are lying down, roll over to one side and slowly push up to a seated position, leading with your torso and raising your head last.

The advantages you will gain by making this practice part of your daily life are priceless. Clarity
of mind, an energized body, and a nourished spirit are just a breath away. Anytime, anywhere you are feeling stressed, stretch, retreat into the ever-present breath, and give thanks.