top of page

Breath, Breathing

Breath is life. It is one of the pieces of human nature that keeps us alive. We breathe automatically. It is part of our body that is given to us at birth. In utero, we live through our mother’s blood system and the oxygen she transfers to us via her fluids and blood. When we are born, we immediately start to breathe. That is why some babies cry immediately. It is a shock to take in air and start the lungs working. Sometimes the doctor has to clean out lungs or the mouth to allow a newborn to breathe. And when they do, the natural process takes hold and breathing commences.

Throughout our lives, we breathe. It is a strong system that keeps us alive. Have you ever had trouble catching your breath? You could have an illness, allergies, extreme stress in your life, grief, or something going on in your life that causes you to hesitate to take a breath. It’s a scary feeling to have to be mindful enough to breathe. We do this automatically.

There are three distinct times I remember taking classes to breathe. The first was when I studied voice. Breathing to allow our full voices to soar is a conscious deep breathing exercise. We use our diaphragms to allow more and more breath to enter our lungs. This allows us to hold long notes when singing. The second time was when I was pregnant, and we took a Lamaze class. Thank goodness we did! The tools they teach pregnant women are priceless in preparing you how to meet the challenge of birthing. There is controlled breath, panting breath, holding breath, and pushing breath. All of these are important. The most important part of this breathing is giving us the feeling we have some control over a very natural process where we have very little control!

Yoga was the third time I learned breathing techniques. It is different from the other two although it uses aspects of the singing voice that strengthen our bodies. There are several yoga breaths and I find they are helpful in many situations. I used to overbook my days and when that happened, I would stop and go into yoga breathing and I was able to calm down and finish my day more relaxed. How we breathe often changes the outcome of situations we are in.

Have you ever had the air knocked out of you? I did when playing softball as a child. Your lungs have to restart. They do automatically, just as when we choke. Our bodies are remarkable.

Air is one of Nature’s elements. We are part of Nature; so it makes sense that we depend on air for life.

Northern Canada has had a tough time with wildfires and the smoke from the wildfires has reached as far South as Washington, DC. Wildfires are part of nature, too, with fire scorching the earth and changing habitats. The smoke can make our air toxic and cause us to breathe less easily, a danger for those with lung issues or who are pregnant. We have changes to our life support all around us.

How do we protect the air? When the Sahara Desert blows great winds across the Atlantic and slows down tropical storms, it also brings dusty air for us to breathe. We had haboobs in Arizona during our monsoon season, usually August, each year. Amazing sight to see as a wall of dark dust rolled from the South Valley through the middle and North Valley. Despite closed windows and sealed doors, there was always a layer of dust on all the furniture after a haboob. I never paid attention to breathing during these times; there were always air quality warnings.

Air is something we take for granted. Many people struggle to breathe. Do you listen to or read about the daily air quality in your location? It’s a wise thing to start to do. I’ll listen more and perhaps there will be an indication of something I can do as an individual as we are all responsible for our air.

  Join our mailing list to receive these blogs direct to your inbox  

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page