My new friend, Rosemary MacGregor, owner of The Mango Tree Spa, recently gave me a lesson on deep abdominal breathing. I thought I had it down from all my work in yoga and Pilates, but I was reminded that, actually, we never have anything “down”.
Rosemary has a BA in speech and hearing therapy, RN degree in medicine, MS in psychology and amongst her many talents and skills, she has taught breathing world wide. She taught me how to work on completely relaxing my chest, neck and shoulder–the entire thoracic body–to allow for the breath to penetrate the depths of the lungs by expanding the belly and allowing for long, slow exhalations. It really reminded me what I learned in meditation: Just how much the breath is connected with our mental state and how crucial it is to our emotional and physical well-being.
Rosemary pointed out from her knowledge of herbal and Chinese medicine how all illnesses and diseases can be linked to improper breathing. So if you want to be healthy, deal well with stress, and find inner peace, it is important to learn how to breathe! I also always remind students in my workshops and sessions that it is through the breath that we are connected to our life force. All living beings breathe this life force. In Chinese medicine and body modalities they call it “Chi”, in yoga, it’s called “Prana” and others know it as the Holy Spirit. It is the essential force of our lives and the way we can cleanse the body of all that is no longer required and replace it with a new way of being. As we accept to love, we can transmute all that is absent of love through the breath. A good breathing exercise is to accept to inhale love and light and to exhale all that is absent of love and light. Try it when you practice deep abdominal breathing and see how you feel!
Click on Rosemary’s blog for an article on why deep abdominal breathing is so crucial. Click here for a good article with great guidelines about how to work on deep abdominal breathing that can be used throughout the day to reduce stress and anxiety and bring a sense of well-being and peace.