Breathe! And…Vive la vie!

A trip from Amsterdam to Maastricht

425 kms in one day

I’m in my car

Alone

The radio is on

Me singing

Loud.

Where would I be without my breath?

Breathing, we do it every day, hour, minute, second. It’s a natural process that we hardly ever think about and yet for many of us it’s very difficult to make use of the full capacity of our lungs.

I used to have and sometimes still have difficulties breathing deeply and benefit from my breath. I remember my yoga teacher always reminded me to use what she called my “belly brain”. But that’s easier said then done. Standing in a yoga pose and keeping my balance was already quite a challenge. I was struggling and my mind was spinning: “Stretch my back leg, bend my front leg, push my foot in the mat, turn my hips forward, stretch my arms….. and OOPS, forgot to breathe again”.

Instead of singing our song of life to the fullest by breathing deeply, we tend to breathe superficially and pause frequently. We pause while stretching out to grab something from the cupboard, when we’re suffering from stress, when we sing a song. We don’t notice it, but in general we don’t have a fluid ongoing deep breath. And yet, it’s this way of breathing that is very energizing for us.

How can we improve the quality of our breath?

To be honest, I’m not a breathing expert, but let me share what worked for me.

Over the course of life my body had become tense. Both on the outside, and on the inside. While doing yoga I could feel the stiffness better every day and I knew I was releasing tension more and more as well. But it’s one thing to release tension, in my case this didn’t lead automatically to a well nourishing breath. So, to improve my breath I tried various breathing practices. All bringing baby steps to regain my full natural breath, but not the giant step I was, hoping for.

And then, one day, at a point in time that I didn’t expect it to happen, things changed. I was participating in a 10 days Vipasanna meditation course. For those of you that are not familiair with Vipassana meditation, it’s a very old meditation technique which you can learn by attending a 10 day course, in which you meditate approximately 10 hours a day and stay in complete silence during the course. The beauty of this is that one never knows what to expect during a course like Vipassana.

My unexpected moment came at day 4. I just went for a short walk in the woods and suddenly my diaphragm released an enormous amount of tension and I felt my lungs overflowing with a deep energising breath. I could feel a new kind of fresh energy entering my body and I can still feel the joy that came along with it and the amazing feeling in my body. It was beatiful and felt like the joy of life. I wanted to sing, scream and shout: life is beautiful, vive la vie!

The Vipassana course was in total silence and I could only keep my victory to myself at that moment. But since I’m now able to share, I’d like to invite you to join me in feeling my tremendous joy. Maybe, you might want to start your personal breathing story first by taking tiny steps, like I did and do a small breathing excercise daily. And then, whenever you’re ready, take a deep breath in, and sing and shout out loud: Vive la vie!

If you wish to read more blogs, please see below or have a look at my blog page. Enjoy!

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I thought after writing my first few blogs that I’d written my story and that my short career as a blogger would end there. Oh, boy, how I was wrong!  When I finally started allowing my creativity to flow, I found out it’s endless. It will never stop. And yes, I’m excited, because there’s more…

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