Most of the research on the powerful effects of intentional breathing come from physician, Herbert Benson, author of The Relaxation Revolution.  When we make time to do nothing else but attend to our breath cycle, we train our brain for “mind-body healing.” We actually turn off the neural circuits that cause medical issues!  It’s a critical foundation.  By the way, to “turn off the genes” that lead to medical difficulties, Dr. Benson suggests mindful breathing for 12-15 minutes at a time per day.  Doing fewer minutes has physiological benefits in the moment, which build over time, but they may or may not lead to physical changes at the genetic level.

Once we learn to breathe mindfully, we need to practice it regularly… just like working our muscles with exercise. He suggests personalizing it by adding a mantra that is meaningful to us.  I use different mantras at different times for different purposes.  For example, if I find my heart beating fiercely, I say, “I’m okay” or “It’s okay” while if I catch myself worrying about a problem, I might say, “There is a solution” or “He is almighty.”

Instructions:

  • Begin by creating a space where you can be with yourself, even in the midst of commotion.
  • Take two or three deep breaths in… fully releasing each breath as you breathe out.
  • As you breathe in and out deliberately… slower and deeper than usual… with ease… add a phrase that is meaningful to you.  Sample phrases are:
    • I’m okay.
    • It’s okay.
    • Trust God.
    • Any prayer works
    • It is what it is.
    • There is a solution.
    • All things work for good.
    • Be content.
  • End with a couple of deep breaths, perhaps adding a sigh… rejoining the Busy World with one final and purpose-full repetition of the mantra in your mind.
© Copyright 2013 Maria Hunt
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