By Rayne Watkin, Osteopath
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
I do not claim to know everything, but after 25 years of laying my hands on people (as an Osteopath for the last 15 years and a Massage Therapist previously), something I have learnt along my journey is that physical or mental disease, dysfunction and pain, are all just the outward manifestation of imbalance in either the body, mind, soul or environment. Pushing the physiology into a fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system overwhelmed) and hijacking the inherent ability for the body to heal itself. It literally changes the chemistry of the brain.
I think most of us would appreciate that when we take PAUSES in life (taking a holiday, spending time in nature, changing up our routines) I think most of us would appreciate that the perceived stressors become smaller, we have more energy and may even feel the call of life changing inspiration. It is in the power of THE PAUSE where an individual’s health can be felt and the power of healing and rejuvenation gains momentum.
Have you ever noticed that most of your chronic aches and pains tend to remit when we go on vacation?
So, let’s take that another step…THE PAUSE can be accessed through present moment awareness of the breath.
Let’s experiment. Take a moment and assess how you are feeling in your body and mind in this moment.
- Are you running around and just happened upon this post, sucked in by technology as you do the mindless scroll?
- Are you feeling low on energy or perhaps a bit full of beans and scattered?
- Perhaps you are pretty chilled?
- Or your kids are screaming in the background as you read this?
- Or maybe you just had an emotional outburst?
Whatever is happening… STOP!
Take 5 meaningful long deep inhales with equal length exhales. And just rest in the after effect of this for one minute.
If this was a successful exercise you may have experienced a moment of calm, quiet or clarity. You may have taken a spontaneous deep breath. Proof you actively controlled and pressed reset on your physiology. The outside variables of your life may not have changed but you have changed your relationship with it. So simple, so powerful.
What’s my point?
You can’t breathe in the past, you can’t breathe in the future. The power of the breath takes you to the present moment. For a brief moment you are not in the tail spin of your mind, in your pain or stuck in drama. You are just being present for you and you only. You are likely to feel a little better, right? You can think a little clearer. Maybe feel a little lighter.
In a time when so much feels out of your hands, come back to this and breathe mindfully for five minutes every day. Or take 5 deep present breaths throughout the day or if you wake at night. The most common resistance to self-care is the excuse of time. My argument is this, if you don’t have the time, you are out of balance. Take back time, one breath at a time.
You and you alone literally can down regulate your sympathetic nervous system and align yourself with the health that is in you and is you.
So I ask you to give this simple gift to yourself for the next 40 days, and if you commit, I promise you will sense a change and it will be a new healthy habit.
Pause – Breathe – Reset – Heal.