There are often times in our lives when we feel out of control. An interview may be going badly or our children are rebelling. We may have a sick relative and there is nothing we can do to alter their state. At times like these it is helpful to focus your attention on the one thing you can control, and the one thing you will always be grateful for – your breath.
Your breath is a miracle life-giver. You breathe in life fuelling oxygen right to the base of your lungs and this diffuses out into the blood stream to nourish every cell in your body. Your exhalation carries waste gas (carbon dioxide) out into the atmosphere. Everything throughout this exchange, from inhalation to exhalation is synchronised to perfection.
When you feel you have nothing to be grateful for and nothing is going your way try the following practice to remind yourself you always have your wondrous breath of life.
Take a second to be still. This practice can be done standing or sitting and nobody needs to know what you are up to. You can do it in the waiting room at the doctors or in the supermarket checkout queue.
Get as comfortable as you can and just bring your attention to your feet planted on the floor and may be scan your body to notice where your body presses against the chair (if you are seated). Now, just start to explore your breathing. Notice the air moving in and out of the nostrils. The temperature of the air as it flows into your body. Does one side of the nose feel more open than the other? Where does the breath create movement in your body? The ribs might move outwards or your shoulders may move. Watch the air flow back out of the nostrils.
Now experiment with your breathing. Increase the length of the in breath and out breath slightly. Maybe count the in breath and out breath. If your attention wanders away from your breathing, just notice this and come back to watching the breath.
Let your breath settle back to its natural rate and depth and continue to explore and consider how it is nourishing your whole body. Be thankful for your breath. Continue this as long as you feel comfortable to do so.