Breathe for a Minute

When we expel air from our lungs we call it an exhalation, or expiration.  When we take air into our lungs we call it an inhalation, or an inspiration.  Inspiration.  We breathe it in. Inspired.

The average person takes somewhere between 17,000 and 24.000 breaths a day, every day.  We breathe most of those breaths without even thinking about them.

Occasionally we might pay attention to our breath: if we overexert ourselves and run out of air, if we let out a big yawn, if we sigh.   But generally, if we’re lucky enough to have a healthy cardiovascular system, breathing just happens, and we pay it no mind at all.

When we practice yoga we talk about the breath as an important force of life, our prana in sanskrit.   Our prana is the force that travels through us, energizes us, renews us, inspires us.  With a practice of mindful breath we can energize ourselves, renew ourselves, inspire ourselves.

You will breathe over 17,000 breaths today, in your 1440 minutes.  Take one minute now to be mindful of your breath.   Just one minute.

Close your mouth and inhale deeply through your nose, while thinking to yourself: “I am inhaling”.  Then exhale while thinking: “I am exhaling”.   Continue this for one minute.    Maybe your breaths will be long enough to repeat the words: “I am inhaling, inhaling, inhaling…. I am exhaling, exhaling, exhaling…”

Try to think of nothing else while you’re doing this, except for the words you are saying and the feeling of air moving in and out of your nostrils.     Stop reading, and just breathe for sixty seconds…

…Then return to business as usual.

If you have a time later in the day when you are still, take a minute or two, and do it again.  If you have a time in your day where you feel overwhelmed or overtired, take one minute and do it again.  If you remember, before you fall asleep tonight, do it again.   Do it tomorrow when you wake up, before you have your morning caffeine, or morning run, or morning cigarette.

Becoming mindful of your breath in even the smallest of ways, for just one minute at a time, on a regular basis can have great effects.  After just a few days, you may start to feel it.  It can be inspirational.

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