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Breath of Life

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Every living thing needs oxygen in order to live, animals, reptiles, birds and humans. The exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen even takes place in the plant kingdom. Breathing is the common thread to all living beings. The oxygen the body takes in is used to create the energy needed to sustain activity.

In grief, the free flow of breath gets interrupted and creates stress in the body. You may notice that you are taking short shallow breaths, only expanding the upper portion of your lungs. You may notice, at times, you are actually holding your breath. Or, you notice you need to take deep cleansing breaths periodically throughout the day. These are all signs that you are not using your entire lung capacity to feed your body the nourishing oxygen it needs.

There is no need to worry. Most people do not breath in a manner that utilizes their full breathing potential. However, in grief, your body is experiencing heightened stress. The systems of your body are being challenged and oxygen intake is lower.

You can count on your breath to balance your energy and feel more in control. You can use your breath to bring calm into your body. By noticing your breath coming into your body and moving from your body, you will be practicing meditative breathing. It will assist you in feeling grounded and balanced. Some people call this conscious breathing or intentional breathing. I like to call it meditative breathing because you are noticing the natural flow of breath, in and out, in and out. You are not forcing it or holding it. Your breath and breathing pattern take on a meditative rhythm all on its own.

Let’s practice meditative breathing. First you will want to find a comfortable position, one in which you feel safe and supported. You may lie or sit in a chair, bed or the floor. Close your eyes if you would like. Next, take time to feel the safety of the support under you. When you are ready, take a deep, deep breath in and open your mouth to exhale the breath as a big sigh. This is a cleansing breath. Now, inhale slowly for 3-4 counts. Bring the air down into your abdomen, you will feel it rise. Then, exhale slowly for 3-4 counts. Feel your abdomen soften. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, create a pattern. Continue this pattern until you begin to feel your body become relaxed. You will notice your energy settle. Be still and notice this balance as you continue the rhythmic pattern of meditative breathing.

You may practice meditative breathing whenever you feel the need to nourish your body, settle your mind or soothe your soul. Your breath is the nourishment that will sustain and comfort you as you live with Grief in Life.


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