In the midst of work life, social life, chores, and hobbies there is a you that is always quietly waiting for your presence. Deep inside your core, you know this you is there, because you have felt it before, at least in flashes of moments when the pink sunsets have bathed you or the beauty of the water’s reflection have caught you off-guard. So the question arises if there is a you that is ‘there’, how can you actually get ‘there’. The first thing to know is that this whimsical ‘there’ is here and in you, in other words, conscious presence is always available within you. And to tap into it, you only have to look towards your own life force, your breath.
‘conscious presence is always available within you. And to tap into it, you only have to look towards your own life force, your breath’
Breathing is simple, gracious, soothing, and always there for you; and because it is easily accessible, it makes connecting with your breath one of the most approachable ways to return to the presence of the self. Breathwork or mindfulness-based breathing has been used for thousands of years by various spiritual traditions to arrive at heightened states of consciousness and focused presence. The breath has been a major component in meditative practices, and is presently being used for therapeutic aims in both clinical settings and in more broad mindfulness practices such as the arts of contemplation, yoga, and qi gong.
Over the last few years vast scientific research has been published on the subject of breath-based meditation by world-renowned university research teams including Berkeley’s Greater Good Center and Harvard’s Lazar Lab. Overall, the scientific findings demonstrate that breathwork can aid people in coping with anxiety, excessive mind-wandering, and in breaking away from prolonged feedback loops of stress.
Your breath patterns or the way that you breath, have a direct effect on the neurological and somatic ways your body can react to daily stimuli. The depth, frequency, and speed of your breath affects the amount of oxygen that flows into your body and into your brain . When you have greater amounts of oxygen this facilitates a more stable heart rate, bringing in the release of endorphins and reducing emotional scores of tension, depression, anger, and confusion. For this reason, breathwork techniques such as deep breathing, can bring balance to the cardio-respiratory system serving as a powerful tool for unlocking a full body relaxation response.
One of the most straightforward ways to engage in breath regulation exercises is to simply count your breath. This foundational breathwork technique has been proven to be extremely beneficial for beginner meditators or for those who prefer a more engaging practice . The breathwork book series from the Coloring Method is built upon this basic system of controlled breath count & somatic breath visualization in where you are guided to visually trace your breath through the simple act of coloring. By embarking on a visual experience of your breath you are able to incorporate single-point concentration into breathwork, allowing you to tune down distractions, build concentration, and bring presence into your practice and consequently, into your body.
controlled breath count + somatic breath visualization sets the space for a focused meditation
Invigorating healthy breathing patterns can start with simple practices that you can incorporate into your everyday life. Such practices can be very powerful as you develop self-reliant tools that can ground you and allow you to return to that you that is always quietly waiting for your presence.
Download a free printable exercise below in where you will be able to leisurely practice a simple breathwork meditation while you are guided to ease into a more calm and present state of mind with the aid of your breath. Explore the Breathwork Book Series by following this link.