• Karla Hollan

#20: I Need To...

Today we use Seneca’s quote: “The whole future lies in uncertainty; live immediately”. I think

Seneca was saying start now. (I’m reminded of myself as a teenager telling my dad I am about to clean my room, about to wash the dishes, etc. and he used to say…."there is no better time than the present” (to insinuate that I was procrastinating).

I think Seneca was also saying “live your best life in the present moment” -We all have busy lives and lots of things we would like to do. To live our best, we must prioritize things. If we were to prioritize things, how important would efficient breathing be? I have a good friend that says “I really need to learn to breathe right” every time we talk. This person feels she has inadequate breath patterns because she catches herself holding her breath at odd times. She knows she does not have as much energy as she used to and becomes winded faster with exertion.

Do you know that most people do not breathe efficiently? The most efficient breath has to do with using the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm, to its full potential (full length) and using the accessory muscles for extra help. It is actually more complicated than that, but I will spare you the technical explanation. Lets use some imagery instead:

Picture a domed jelly fish that is moving in a vertical motion in a cylinder-shaped tank. The jelly fish domes up fully to the top of the tank as you exhale. Picture it flatten its dome and sink to the bottom of the cylinder. This would be mimicking your diaphragm (muscle) contracting on your inhalation.

In regards to where the muscle attaches and how it affects your posture, there is much more to know. But for now, we will place our mind on this image of your special jelly fish and the gist of Seneca’s message. Find a chair (hopefully outdoors) and sit against its back with your feet parallel and touching the ground.

1. Exhale completely to prepare. If yesterday’s “ha” breath is soothing to you, please do that!

2. Inhale and feel all four corners of your feet touching the ground. Exhale completely.

3. Inhale and imagine that you could have that flat jelly fish image within the lower portion of your torso. Exhale and visualize the jelly moving to the top of your torso and doming into its full shape!

4. Inhale. Imagine the jelly fish contracted its muscle to flatten down and move down in the cylinder thus pushing the abdomen out of its way. Exhale, and feel it rising up again to its dome (belly can move back towards spine).

5. Inhale. See the lowering and flattening of the dome. Exhale. See the floating up and arc-ing of the dome and allow it to arc even higher with a little more air out!

6. Inhale. Dome flattens/belly and ribs expand. Exhale: Dome rises/belly and ribs come back to their home.

7. Allow this image to be in your mind for two more breath cycles.

There is no better time than the present to practice mindful breathing! Live immediately!


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