Breathe In, Breathe Out: A Delightful Dive into Relaxation
By Peyton DeMaio
“Just take a deep breath.” Advice we often receive when angry or stressed. Now, if you’re anything like me, hearing those words does nothing but further fuel your rage. What could breathing possibly do? Actually, it might do more than you think. Let’s embark on a hands-on exploration of the transformative world of breathwork.
Initially, I was very skeptical about this whole thing. The idea that something as simple as breathing can change my life for the better sounds a little absurd. Like most people who are alive, I breathe all day every day. I’m so good at breathing I can do it in my sleep! Am I supposed to believe I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time? Although there is no official “right” and “wrong” way to breathe, there are ways of getting more out of every breath we take, and that’s where breathwork comes into play.
It’s not about reinventing the wheel but fine-tuning the process. As I dug a little deeper, it quickly became apparent how even small adjustments in the way I inhale and exhale could have such an impact on my life. It was like discovering a hidden superpower I never knew I had.
With all the chaos of today’s world, it’s hard to keep our minds from constantly racing through what we could have done differently in the past and the infinite possibilities of the future. The true secret to breathwork is as simple as being present. It’s a reminder that the most valuable moment is the one we are living right now. By using our breath as an anchor, we can ground ourselves in the present, connect with the world around us, and experience life’s vibrance without the constant noise of “what if” or “I should have.” Breathwork is the gentle nudge that guides us back to the here and now, offering a sanctuary of stillness amidst the whirlwind of modern life.
Here’s how it’s done, and you won’t need any fancy equipment, a therapist, or any certifications. Find a place where you feel most comfortable, ideally somewhere quiet to let you be alone with your thoughts. I know, scary, right? Not today. Either sitting or lying down, close your eyes and slowly inhale through your nose. I found it helpful to visualize my lungs filling with fresh air. Without inhaling past an uncomfortable level, exhale through the mouth.
Picture any stress and tension leaving your body during the exhale. Don’t think about what you’re going to have for dinner that night, don’t think about the assignment due next Wednesday, don’t think about your favorite conspiracy theory; just think about breathing. This is the most challenging part of the exercise. It’s easy to let your mind drift; if it does, don’t give up! It may take some practice. This whole process can be done in as little as five minutes a day.
As you become more aware of your breathing and hopefully make this a part of your daily routine, you’ll find that managing stress and concentration becomes easier and easier. Breathwork is the ticket to discovering your calmer, more balanced self. If you take nothing else away from this, remember that each breath you take is an opportunity to find peace and clarity in the chaos of life.