Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of activating our B-MES (bee-mes) in order to keep yourself grounded. Not just as business owners and entrepreneurs, but as human beings with natural needs in the world. And in an earlier post this year I talked about the need to breathe, move, eat and sleep. But let’s pause and really examine that first item.
Breath has been around for a long time. I think about the earth and its connection with our idea of life and life force energy. When we talk about someone dying we talk about them taking their last breath. Just as when a baby is born we’re all familiar with that first breath that precedes a baby’s first cry.
It’s nearly synonymous with energy for so many of us. And yet, oftentimes, we forget to breathe. I, for one, am guilty of this. Oftentimes when I’m trying to sort through a problem or a new task I find myself so bogged down. I’m so in my head that I forget to breathe. Of course. Literally I am breathing – I’m allowing air to come in and out of my lungs. And yet at the same time it’s completely unintentional and shallow.
I’ve been practicing yoga for over a decade – it has come to represent a sense of calm and peace for me. And yet, it’s not something I’m giving truly much attention to outside of a regular yoga practice. But what if instead of incorporating breath into what we do, instead of allowing it to play in the background, we brought our breath to the foreground?
Enter in DMT Breathing
Now I was first introduced to this idea maybe six months or so ago in a number of ways. The first was through the Gwyneth Paltrow Netflix special GOOP. In it Gwyneth and her team at her wellness company explored a bunch of alternative modes of thought. And one of them involves breathing techniques. She sends a group of her employees to practice and learn breathing techniques and cold-weather exposure and resiliency with the famous Dutchman Wim Hof. We observe as each employee reveals what they’re hoping to get from their practice. One woman owns that she suffered from severe anxiety her entire life and is looking for a way to better manage and cope.
The small group of employees lay on the floor in some remote cabin in a cold climate as Wim Hof directs them to breathe in and breathe out to a rhythmic pace. After a few exercises, he takes them all outside into the frigid snowy climate, each of them wearing nothing but a bathing suit. Somehow they were able to withstand the cold temperatures. Watching that I was completely fascinated.
Techniques and Exercises
I also was very acutely aware of some of the unspoken references I was seeing in the women’s body stances and techniques. My husband, an avid martial arts fan and a practitioner of Kung Fu, has been often seen in the horse stance or the squatting position that they were asking participants to leverage when breathing outdoors. A dancer myself, I also recognize this as a Grand Plie in second position where one is taught to focus in on their center of gravity. As someone who also does a lot of yoga, enjoys a good workout, I’m also familiar with that lower abdomen area that’s being referred to at the sacrum. And as someone who has a lot of women friends, you might be familiar with this as it relates to the Chakras. All of this, so that a human being can withstand external extremes.
Shortly after seeing the special on Netflix I started seeing these breathing techniques everywhere. The coach that I was working with introduced DMT breathing exercises as part of a weekly ritual. My Reiki healer and massage therapist recommended that I read up on Pranayama as a way to release tension in my muscles. And my therapist started to notice that my breath was shallow. It was starting, yes in the stomach, but then it seemingly stops and, skips going over my heart before filling my lungs. All of this has got me to pay even more attention to my breath.
Paying Attention to the Breath
If you think about the techniques that people explore in order to heal themselves of all diseases of the mind and body, what’s often spoken of is the ability to reduce and remove inflammation. Inflammation causes swelling, discomfort and pain. One of the ways to prevent or alleviate inflammation is by eating alkaline rich foods and helping the body to naturally regulate itself.
We’ve heard of how some chemical regulators like CBD can impact the body. But what if you didn’t need anything other than air in order to get this type of response from your system? Wim Hof asserts that by using his breathing techniques you’re able to bring more oxygen into the body, and by exposure to cold temperatures, to begin to train the body and its fight-or-flight response. The body can maintain its equilibrium in times of stress and then does not fall prey to inflammation. It does not fall prey to disease.
Literally by breathing we not only heal the body and the mind but make both more resilient.
And it turns out that very element that we begin and end our life with (breath) might be the only one that we need to thrive between those two bookends.
Examine your own breath
And yet, somehow along the way, we all seem to have forgotten how to breathe. This is an area that I am truly starting to explore more for myself but I encourage you to examine how you’re breathing. If you were to focus on it what benefits could you receive for yourself? How could you use our very first element to improve your everyday life?