Failure to Breathe. Again.

Are you breathing?  That’s what I ask myself all day long – because usually I’m not.  Even if I haven’t gone into full-on breath holding, I habitually default to chest breathing – just like every other urban based, internet connected, semi-freaked human being. 

Which is pretty humbling for somebody that teaches mindful breathing, but there it is.  Decades of experience with chronic pain and yoga therapy have resulted in a day to day habit of mindful breath awareness.  Pause, breathe and repeat:  breath awareness as lifestyle, all day long. 

The Power Question

Repeatedly checking in with the question “Are you breathing” is like doing a daily mind/body fire drill.  I get to practice the shift into diaphragmatic breath again and again, building muscle memory for relaxed connection.  

But what’s really cool is when the drill pays off and I notice I’m holding my breath without the prompt.  Because that’s how a new habit takes hold – repeat practice over time.

Like the time last week when I was surrounded by 3 huge pickup trucks whizzing down the freeway at 80 miles an hour; racing around traffic on an urban underpass, cutting between each other and then across 3 lanes to an exit. 

My breath gets short just remembering. Which makes this an excellent time for me to breathe.

Each mindful pause provides a moment of self-awareness and the opportunity to reset mind and body.  Getting out of auto-pilot mode for a moment of mindful presence for a short breath break provides a reset well worth practicing.

Are you breathing?  Check out The People’s Pause learning aids for mindfulness skills training