Learning to breathe has been a pretty big transformation for me.
What’s funny is that it really takes very little to make a big impact–that’s how poorly we usually use our breath. Just doing two nights a week of yoga got me started feeling less anxious, more grounded and confident–as well as loving toward my own body.
I discovered that just taking time out to breathe in a way that was more meaningful could be exquisite–physically delicious.
It’s taken me a little longer to figure out how it can be useful in the moment.
Last night I was getting altitude sickness, since I’m in Denver and tend to be susceptible. I knew I needed to sleep to really fully recover. I decided to try to do a little bit of my homework–which for this part of my health coaching course actually meant doing some breathing exercises.
It moved me past rising nausea and headache to be able to then sleep. A little nap and I felt 85% better.
Wow, that was nice!
The most intense moment of breathing I had, though, was under much crazier circumstances. While training to bicycle across a part of Germany, I found myself ever grateful for the training to breathe *through* discomfort to be able to continue.
During the trip, though, one of our cycling group wrecked. I jumped in to keep a wound closed and do what first aid I felt safe to do, while we waited for an ambulance. At some point, I realized that my friend was going into shock, and hyperventilating.
I was breathing shallowly, too. I checked in with myself, and remembered that we tend to mirror other people.
So, with my hands against her, I slowed my breath. I breathed through my nose, and watched as her breath eventually smoothed back out.
There were other factors, of course, but I’ll never forget the relief of being able to breathe through that with her.
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