Breathing is, without stating the obvious, essential for life. It is something we do from the womb until the day we leave this beautiful planet. For most of us, it happens almost 100% unconsciously. We simply do not think about it. When we do, it is usually because we need extra oxygen, are out of breath from exercise, or we're scared, having a panic attack or psyching ourselves up for something.
The problem with unconscious breathing, is that we are mindless. Now I don't mean the, "Oh my days, this person is out of their mind", mindless. I mean the opposite to mindful.
The psychotherapist and author Nathaniel Branden, in his book "The psychology of Romantic Love", speaks about the difference between conscious and unconscious living. He actually wrote a whole book about living consciously called, "The Art of Living Conscously" - find the link in the Key Books Page. In short, he speaks about awareness and choice when it comes to living our lives and towards all the things that come across our paths for us to deal with. Using his thinking in the context of here, being aware of and controlling your breath, is a conscious act, whereas the unconscious breath is taken with no awareness and automatically as the body needs, rather than it being a conscious choice.
And this leads us to the basics of mindfulness and a key. Mindfulness is rooted in conscious living. It is about awareness and choice. And the breathing that is it's foundation, must be done with awareness and choice. By bringing our breathing up into the conscious part of our brains, we can begin to use it to our benefit and health, both mentally and physically.
Going one step further into the understanding of awareness, there are two main types. Outer and inner awareness. And both of these are essential to the practice of mindfulness and both find a place in mindful breathing. As you will learn in the first 10 Blog Keys, the art of practicing a conscious awarenss of both our outer world of smells, sounds, environment, triggers and of our inner world of breath, mind, body, feelings, emotions, actions and reactions, is the key to mindful breathing. Though in the practice of mindful breathing, I will be leading you much more into your inner world, as this is the key to healing and to getting to know yourself better.
It takes practice, time and frequency of both of these. However, the good news, is that it is not difficult. Everybody can do it, including you.
The moment you choose to stop, inside a single moment of time and become aware of your breathing, you set the stage for mindful breathing. It is that simple. But first, you must make that choice, take that moment and then, breathe: