The Beauty of Breath
by Roseanna Frechette
In this time of financial stress it can be good to realize what we have that is truly good and comes to us freely. The beauty of breath is one of those things. Especially now, as summer swings into its green, fresh fullness, a habit of good deep breathing can help us to celebrate being alive.
Not only does the ability to breathe well help us stay grounded and energized, it also enables us to take in more summer fragrance. If we imagine the smell of rain on fresh cut grass or the scent of yellow roses in full bloom, we might be inclined to pause and take a full, deep breath now.
But how many times a day do we find ourselves lessening, stalling, and even holding the breath? We get busy with the never-ending list of to-do’s and the countless details of day-to-day existence. We feel rushed and stressed. We forget to breathe!
Try this. Take a moment to notice the immediate quality of your breath. Is it shallow or deep, quick or slow? Is it sporadic or steady, incomplete or full? Just notice at first. Watch the breath coming and going. Feel the sensation of your breath against your nostrils–cool as it comes in, warm as it goes out. Begin allowing the breath to slow down.
As you continue to consciously breathe, allow the breath to drop down to the belly. Imagine you are filling a small balloon in the belly with breath. Try this several times. Next allow the breath to widen the rib cage. Allow the breath to move your ribs in and out, sideways, like a small accordion. Try this many times. Now allow the breath to warm your upper lungs where the heart center lives. Appreciate the warm sensation of your heart space.
Now try moving the breath, like a soft summer breeze, slowly. Feel the expansive quality of your breathing as you fill the belly and rib cage as well as the upper lungs. Hear the sound your breath makes. When you empty the breath, let it empty all the way from the belly, rib cage, upper lungs. You might allow tension to flow out on the exhalation.
As you move forward from here, try to remember this expansive, enlivening quality of good breathing. When you catch yourself tensing, stalling, holding the breath, give yourself just a few moments to repeat the above exercise. You might think of this as simply taking time to smell the roses and to celebrate summer through the beauty of your breath.
At The Oxford Club, Spa and Salon, we offer a variety of refreshing services and treatments as well as a good collection of yoga classes that include breathing techniques. Happy days of summer! We hope to see you soon.
Roseanna Frechette is Yoga Director & Business Development Rep for The Oxford Club, Spa & Salon; 1616 17th Street, in LoDo. Visit oxfordclubspa.com; 303-628-5522. This article first appeared in Downtown Denver News LoDo.