Your Breath Is Your Best Defense Against Stress

Guest post by Rachel Peters -

Prana. This is a term used a lot in the yoga tradition and throughout modern yoga. There is even a clothing company who has coined this as their brand name. It is much more than a cute yoga top.

It has a depth of meaning, but essentially it means "life force".

It flows on the wings of your breath and supplies your every cell with vitality and LIFE. There are multiple types of prana that flow through the body. It's complex, alive and is what keeps us alive

Lifeforce, vitality, or let's even call it "energy" flows in the direction you place your attention, your awareness. If your attention or mindset is constantly flowing to comparing yourself to other people, judging or criticizing yourself or others, noticing the flaws, imperfections, mistakes, and problems, it's likely you will have a harder time accepting yourself or others for who they are.

When criticism arises it stops the flow of prana. Energy is blocked.

This is a liability when one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is the gift of self acceptance, self-love and overall self-compassion. When we live in acceptance of ourselves there is healing.

In order to dissolve old habits that perpetuate a kind of measuring up to everyone else, we must soften and receive. Receiving can be one of the most challenging practices. In our culture we are honored for “doing it yourself” or being “independent”. It is oftentimes considered weak to receive help or assistance from others.

Take a moment and pause. Put your hand on your belly and receive your breath. Notice that by simply shifting your awareness to your breath, it expanded. Take another breath into the invitation for expansion. Notice what happens when you do that.

Receive your breath and choose an easeful relationship with the moment versus a stressful one. Five deep breaths can shift a mood, alter the course of a conversation, and optimize your energy and vitality.

A few moments of this kind of conscious breathing will ground your awareness and invite you into a deeper relationship with the moment.

Life is made up of small, perhaps insignificant moments strung together over time. Receive the gifts and the medicine of each one of them with a deeper connection to your breath and pivot each moment into a significant experience.

Invite your breath to be the gateway towards greater ease.