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