Stop. Breathe. Repeat.

You know what we don’t get enough of? Air. We often forget to breathe. We run around all day like wind-up dolls and it takes great effort to bring awareness to what is essential: breathing.

Today I literally stopped what I was doing about every hour to deepen my breath. All day long I was feeling suffocated, like my lungs were not getting enough oxygen. New York, the capital of changing weather 24/7, is in the middle of another topsy-turvy climate – the humid/cold/rainy weather probably had something to do with my condition.

Every time you feel anxious, nervous, or hyper-stimulated, try to bring your awareness back to the breath. Focus on the here and now, breathe all that tension out. Fill your lungs with air by inhaling, slowly and deeply, through the nose and low into the belly. Try to feel your breath moving, and follow it diffusing through the lungs and into the blood, until it reaches all the cells of your body, down to the fingers and toes.

There are breathing techniques that are used for different effects on the body. For example, breathing through your left nostril calms you down, which can be useful during stress or before an exam. Breathing through the right nostril, on the other hand, wakes you up and gives your energy, so you can use this on a long car ride (especially useful for the driver).

We really don’t give enough credit to the power of the breath. But if you think about it, each breath is essential for maintaining our life force, until the next breath. We can go days without water and weeks without food, but we can only survive minutes without oxygen. So oxygen is the number one nutrient to nourish your body; water is the second; and food takes third place. Honor the breath and bring awareness to it periodically to get the full benefit of it.

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