Giving Thanks For The Breath

 

Giving thanks can seem trite or rote by this time in November, which isn’t the point, of course. How to keep gratitude meaningful and fresh? Perhaps by taking a look at this ritual and remaking it as our own.

This could be simply reconnecting to the breath, a new thought, or a new prayer. It could be a little more involved – reading one of your favorite authors, pondering what they have to say, and restating and building upon it in a journal. What works for you may be somewhere in between.

For myself, there are days where the dark, cold and wet weather push gratitude Рor almost any happy thought  Рfar, far away. Irritants seem to multiply at every turn. How to return to that place of gratitude?

Give this a try… Depending on where you are – driving a car, riding the bus, in a crowded store, alone at home – focus on your breath. Just sit or stand a little taller, and inhale, letting your belly poof out. Feel your ribs expand on this inbreath. Notice. Notice how the side and back ribs expand. Pause at the top of your inhale.

Now exhale. Keep sitting or standing tall, and feel your ribs contract. Pull your belly back in on the exhalation. Now rinse and repeat. This time extend the inhale just a smidge longer, and the exhale 2 smidges longer. And again. You’ll notice that as you connect with your breath, and as you connect with the extension of your spine, your mood begins to change. The breath is powerful. By breathing deeply, we reconnect with life and vitality.

While it’s ideal to close the eyes, that’s not very practical when out in public. It works well when you are in a quiet place, alone at home, in a conference room with the lights dimmed or off. Closing the eyes activates that sweet restorative place in our nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system. It soothes our adrenals, soothes our brain, and reconnects us to our essence.

Is gratitude a little closer?

I’ve discovered when I am having that uncomfortable half-in-and-half-out-of-my-body experience, that I have forgotten to breathe. I may be holding my breath, or breathing high up in my chest (which aggravates anxiety), and I’ve disconnected from myself and that knowingness within. When I reconnect, I can tap back into peace, centeredness, mindfulness and gratitude.

That’s where I want to be. How about you?

 

And a final addition from Elephant Journal… enjoy!

Category : Blog &Yoga Posted on November 24, 2012

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