I am on my way home from visiting my three-week old grand-nephew, Jamison, son of my niece and her husband, Barbara and Jared Webster.Barbara is 28, the same age I was when my first child was born. Such déja vu!
Holding Jamison, who fits perfectly in my arm between my elbow and hand, I could feel every nuance of his breath. He is breathing the way we all are designed to breathe. Holding him, I can see his cute Buddha belly rhythmically expand and fall. His breath is totally natural. The lungs fill. The diaphragm descends. The belly and back expand like a tiny inner tube. His entire spine responds fluidly with each wave of breath in and out, massaging his internal organs.
As we age, learn to behave and be careful, and encounter fears and the daily challenges of life, we all stiffen around the breath. My two children were about 9 or 10 when I noticed that their breath was now raising their sternum, not inflating their belly. Just about every adult I have ever met, breathes into their chest. If you re-learn how to breathe low and slow, like a baby, you can calm your stress, slow your heartbeat, lower your blood pressure and be where you are.
TRY THIS: Put one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Feel where your body expands when you inhale. Gently, consciously, inflate the belly and waist as you inhale. You will notice that the chest may still lift, but not as much. Take 3 breaths like this. Enjoy this deep, slow, centering breath.