Breathe and Receive: Breathwork Can Bring Peace, Calm During Cancer Treatment
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in deeply. Breathe out completely.
Simply upon reading these words, what do you notice about your breath? How do you feel? Perhaps you felt more present, peaceful, calm or maybe even noticed a little burst of energy. This is because breath (also called prana, chi, life force, depending on the culture and tradition) is the vitality that keeps us alive.
The ﬁrst thing we do upon arrival in this world and the last action before we leave is breathe. How much do we think about breathing in between these events? Especially with all the mental tasks our minds must juggle every day?
Interestingly, only 10% of our daily breathing is consciously controlled. Otherwise, breathing is controlled subconsciously within the brain. Why does this matter?
Rewind and reread the ﬁrst few lines.
One answer lies within what you notice about how you feel. That’s just the beginning of the beautiful bountiful beneﬁts of breathwork.
Focusing on the breath brings us mindfully into the present moment. And we have many missed opportunities throughout the day to take advantage of purposeful breathing.
First Things First... What is Breathwork?
There are simple ways to practice breathing that either bring energy up or down depending on how you want to feel. It’s like a little prescription.
Imagine that you notice some anxiety regarding an upcoming scan or treatment, and you’re sick to your stomach with worry. Simply by reading this your body may tense up, and your breath may feel stuck in your chest.
Take a moment to breathe in slowly and deeply.
Then breathe out slowly and completely.
Do that 2 more times and notice how you feel.
What if you could get a prescription for this feeling and it was completely natural with only positive side effects? Well, you can. It’s called Rx Breathwork!
Breathwork Can Transform Your Experience
We can’t control life, but we can control how we react to it. We can also control how we breathe, which may promote peace, calm, and present focus to allow us to experience each moment. Conscious connection to your breath can change the way you feel in very little time.
Deep breathing can by decreasing the stress response and release of cortisol in the body. Consistent breathwork practice can help balance bodily systems, increase immune response and expand lung capacity.
Practice Exercise: 5 Minutes to Peace
- Think about how you feel in this moment without judgment. Just notice your current state of being and be here as you are.
- Notice how your breath is moving in and out of your body.
- Now, lengthen your breath on the inhale and exhale.
- Practice this three times.
- Work to smooth your breath now. Think about gently smoothing out the covers on your bed, working through the wrinkles and rough parts.
- Try to keep your breath long and smooth.
- Then try to slow down your breathing.
- With each exhale, you may feel your body and mind soften.
- Think of one word to describe how you feel now.
Practice Breathwork Regularly
The power of breathwork is harnessed through regular practice.
If we want to get stronger, we have to work out.
If we want to feel healthier, we need to eat healthier.
If we want to feel more rested, we need to sleep well.
If we are on a cancer journey, we must walk it one step at a time.
Practicing breathwork may instantly allow for relaxation and peace. Much like most activities, more practice leads to a greater beneﬁt!
Life continues to offer new challenges and stressors, but breathwork can help you release stress when it surfaces.
The advantage of practicing more regularly to train your brain to allow your breath to be a tool when life is chaotic, crazy or confusing.
Take Breath Breaks throughout the day for 5 minutes at a time. Setting an alarm on your watch or phone (Apple Watches cue breathing every hour) may help you integrate this practice into your daily routine. Then, when you feel a little stuck, gently remind yourself that your breath is always available.
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