© 2013 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
Today’s headline in The Arizona Republic, Phoenix’s main regional newspaper, riveted me. It read, “BOSTON EXHALES.” I was so riveted by the headline that I took a photo of it (here, to the left). Everyone knows what this headline means. It means the worst is over and Boston can now relax, with the first bombing suspect dead, and the second in hospital custody.
We have a number of expressions about breath, in this country. We talk about “holding our breath” while waiting eagerly for something. In a strong attraction, we may say, “[S]/he takes my breath away.” After a big event, sometimes we say, “oh, now I can breathe easy, knowing it’s all taken care of.” We sometimes talk about being “just a breath away” from some desired goal. A Buddhist-oriented 12-Step program is called One Breath at a Time.
Many well-meaning people advise others who are stressed to “take a deep breath”. A popular 1995 movie is called, Waiting to Exhale. In that movie, the 4 main characters each reached points in life where they were now relieved that the suspense was over, and they were better able “to exhale”. So during most of the movie, they were “waiting to exhale” as they were “up in the air” as to where their primary relationships were going. And by the way, it was a great movie!
As a practitioner who teaches the power and practice of therapeutic breathing, I want to boldly suggest that you never wait to exhale! You need to breathe, right? So why not make your breath work well for you? In a minute or so, your inhalation takes oxygen to your blood through the lungs, and the blood circulates the oxygen all around your body. Carbon dioxide is picked up by the returning blood, and the process begins again.
At the bottoms of your lungs resides a build-up of residue from urban pollution. So, while most people take only relatively shallow breaths, all can benefit from deeper breathing and expelling that residue. To make more room for new air, exhaling is key. Try this: pick a note, and sing “haaaaaaaa…” out to the end of your breath. You will know you have found the very end of your breath when you reflexively gasp as your inhalation. Do this three times and then return to ignoring your breathing. Notice how much better you feel. You may feel a little “high” for a few minutes—that’s oxygen! When you want to relax, don’t “take a breath”, have an exhale, and then inhale into the lungs that have made room for new air.
Do you want to live alert and energized? Take charge of your breath. See what happens. And don’t wait to exhale!
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● Kebba Buckley Button is a Master’s Degree scientist, a minister, and the award-winning author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core (http://tinyurl.com/abd47jr), and also Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br). She also has a natural healing and stress management practice and is a celebrated public speaker.
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