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Humans can live weeks without food and days without water, but only a few minutes without a breath. Yet many of us forget to breathe, hold our breath, shorten our breath, or go through a whole day without ever noticing one single breath cycle. Breathing is an innate and autonomic bodily process, and you're doing it—whether you're consciously trying to or not—approximately 23,000 times every day. That means you have more than 20,000 opportunities every day to shift how and what you are receiving and what you are releasing. Simply paying more attention to your breath has the power to attune your presence, activate your aliveness, and generate a sense of empowerment. "This is the first, the wildest, and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness." —Mary Oliver GROWING YOUR BREATH WISDOM Notice and feel yourself breathing for a moment. Begin by noticing the breath entering your nose. Is the air cool or warm? Feel your breath moving down your trachea and passing down your throat. Feel the gentle lifting of your chest as your breath circulates deeper into your body. Can you feel your diaphragm making room for the increased air by pressing down and out? Or perhaps you can feel your ribs responding and f laring out laterally as you continue deep breathing. Is there any movement in your upper, middle, or lower back as you breathe? Notice how and if your belly responds to your breath cycle. Does your inhalation reach and expand into your belly? Is your belly soft or hard? And notice how quickly or slowly you let the air go, and if you let all the air go or hold some in. Research has revealed there is a link in the brain between breathing and pain. When people feel pain, they tend to breathe shorter and faster. Furthermore, the simple act of conscious breathing can change how a person thinks, moves, and feels. More research shows that "diaphragmatic breathing plays a role in functional movement. Inefficient 80 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 2 essential skills | SAVVY SELF-CARE Creating Space from the Inside Out Active Adaptation with Decompression Breathing By Heath and Nicole Reed Author's note: In our previous article titled "Creating a Sensory Refuge," we were remiss to reference the creator of the Basic Exercise (and practice we shared in the article) and where we found this technique. The book is called Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve, Stanley Rosenberg, North Atlantic Books, 2017.

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