Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.

— Chinese Proverb

Nurturing Your Personal Power and Awareness Through Conscious Breathing

by Jennifer Baltz

When was the last time you sat down and just noticed your breathing? If you’re a regular meditator or yoga practitioner, you might do this daily. But if you travel through life at warp speed, with more on your plate than time allows, pausing to tune in to your breath might seem like a luxury you just can’t afford.

But the act of simply noticing your breathing is a powerful state of being. And like meditation, it can actually save you time and shift your energy to a place of personal power and grace.

Developing the skill of present mind

Here’s why. First, consciously noticing your breathing helps you develop the skill of being more present and aware in the moment. We humans often spend so much time looking at the closed door behind us that we don’t see the many doorways open ahead. By being more present in the moment, you can see those opportunities in front of you more clearly. And practicing conscious breathing as a habit throughout the day gives you a tool to fall back on when you need it most.

In my new online meditation class, I share a quote from John Kabat Zinn: “You find that there is an inner stillness and peace within some of the most difficult life situations. It’s right in this breath, and it’s right in this experience. You don’t have to run away to get it someplace else.”
Conscious pauses nurture your personal power and awareness

Stopping to notice your breathing creates conscious pauses in your day that allow you to be more connected on all levels: body, mind, and spirit. It can help you access your own inner compass when you make decisions…and to learn the difference between ego, fear, and divine guidance. It means the angels don’t have to shout quite so loud to get you to hear them! And it helps you take the time to let ego drop and truly understand yourself and others. When we speak or act without consciously pausing first, we often come from ego and emotion, not true understanding and awareness.

Going through life on autopilot diminishes your personal power, whereas conscious attention nurtures and expands it. We make better choices that match who we really are — rather than being pushed along by the whims of others, who may not have our best interests at heart. Pausing to breathe consciously helps us have greater clarity, energy, and present mind. There are fewer do-overs, and things get done faster and better. Plus, being conscious in the moment is a state where we can articulate more clearly what we truly need — and ask for help to get it done, both from divine guidance and other humans.
When and how to practice conscious breathing

So when is the best time to practice conscious breathing? Anytime. (You knew I’d say that, right?) You’re building that habit over time so it’s something you will go to when you need it most. Those times include when you’re overtired, feel confused, or overwhelmed. When you are on a deadline and feel like you just can’t get it all done…that’s another great time to tune in to your breathing. Or when you need to find your center in a difficult emotional situation.

Try it now. Simply stop and sit quietly for a few minutes. Just breathe normally and notice your breathing. Notice how your breath goes in and out. Notice the speed and depth of your breathing and what you are feeling. Just notice.
Becoming more conscious of what we feel

Our breathing and emotions are deeply connected. When you are anxious, you will not breathe in the same way as when you are calm. So, your breathing is a guide to become more aware of your emotions … it helps you feel them kinesthetically, so you can better understand what you are experiencing and how it is affecting you.

Sometimes we become unconscious to what we are actually feeling—we block it out and try to deny what is really there. When you breathe consciously, you are allowing your emotions to come center stage. And by listening to your body with awareness and the willingness to understand, you can make better choices.

Conscious breathing helps you become more of who you are. It helps you be more connected and present so that all parts of you work together more gracefully as a balanced whole. And it helps you to be more aware of what is going on around you. Slowing down and getting off that merry-go-round for a few minutes can often be enough to shift your reality in a profound way.
Try a conscious breathing experiment!

So try an experiment with me today. Take three minutes at the top of every hour, from now until you go to bed, to tune into your breathing as you just did. Just breathe and notice how you are breathing. How does breathing feel to you? How does your body feel? What emotions come up when you notice your breathing? Notice that when you simply pay attention, your breathing and your energy naturally shift into a slower, more present state. Try giving yourself that luxury and notice how you feel.

Copyright © 2010 Jennifer Baltz. All Rights Reserved.

Jennifer Baltz is Conscious Life Design coach and mentor with over 18 years experience helping people consciously create their dreams. She offers individual coaching, classes, seminars, and mastermind groups to help you create change in your life, from personal and creative growth to small business development. Visit Jennifer’s website for more information, www.creativespirit.com, or follow Jennifer on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jenbaltz.

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