The healing breath
We all know that breathing is crucial to our very existence, but how many of us actually do the deep healing breathing? Let me tell you a story. I stopped by a friend’s house yesterday to say hello. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks and just wanted to check-in.
As soon as I arrived I knew something was wrong. The usual smile wasn’t there, she looked really stressed and even angry - this just isn’t like her. This is a warm and lovely human being, and although I know we all get 'off track' sometimes, to see her like this was distressing because I could see how much she was suffering.
I sat down and listened to all that she needed and wanted to say. She had been to her GP and he had told her it was high anxiety and stress. She had also seen her homeopath that had said the same thing, but other than the GP wanting to give her prescription medication, they weren’t able to help her.
So I just sat with her and listened, but as I listened to what she was saying, I also listened to how she was breathing. I could hear that it was very shallow breathing from her throat, and it had a raspy sound to it. And she was shaking. This is someone that has meditated and practised yoga for the past 20 years, so I was surprised to see all of this, not because I was judging her, but because I love her and I wanted to help her.
I took her hand and said come with me. We went into her living room and laid down on the floor. I told her to put her hands on her tummy. I did the same. I said we are going to focus on the healing breath right now and nothing else. I asked her to picture the breath you are bringing into your body in any way that feels comfortable. For me, it's picturing that incoming breath as white light, and it’s a living, healing breath. Breathing correctly has great value; focus on that. Pull that breath all the way down into your body, filling up your lungs, your chest cavity, and all the way until your tummy expands. Fill up on it.
Then, as you are exhaling, visualise all of the stress, anxiety, and shakiness, leaving on the exhalation - the outer breath. In through your nose, and out through your mouth. In through your nose slowly, count for seven to 10 seconds, and then allow the exhalation to be a powerful one. Get rid of all that negative worry and stress. Breathe it out!
We laid on her floor for 20 minutes, and all we did was focus on our breathing, in and out, healthy energy in, anxiety and stress out. Over and over again. Frankly, I was so relaxed that after 20 minutes anything could have happened and I would have just smiled, but I practice mindfulness on a daily basis, and so this breathing is my norm. But my friend had forgotten about the breathing and was only breathing in and out of her throat. She was starving her body of oxygen and her body was letting her know.
I wish I had taken a photo of her before we did this and then after we were done. Obviously, I didn’t, because it wasn’t about that, but the difference was extraordinary. I got a text from her yesterday saying how great she feels, like herself again, and then another text today saying how happy she is.
And all we did was breathe.