Breathwork is the Best Work
Intention Setting: What are your reasons for reading this today? What do you hope to get out of this work? How will you use the information that you receive?
My intention is to raise awareness about one tool that can assist you in your wellness practice. My intention is to promote healing by connecting to one of the greatest tools we have—our breath.
Lately, I’ve taken a deep dive into exploring my spiritual and emotional wellness. I decided that the only way to truly be well and also educate others about wellness is to “BE” about the work. To “BE” the work. Last week, for example, I curated my own personal two day retreat that included meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, mindful eating, written reflection, and more. I hope to one day offer these sessions to my community. Until then, I will meet you here.
My goal is to provide as much information about wellness to my community as possible so that we can heal the trauma connected within our psyches, spirits, and bodies due to historical pain and suffering. I hope that we can at some point get to a place of radical acceptance and joy. I believe that certain practices can get us there. One of those practices is mindful breathing or breathwork.
Mindful breathing is a practice that asks us to connect to our breath or the sign of life that flows through us. Although some might have us believe that this practice is part of western culture, it has been colonized like many other practices from Eastern traditions. Acknowledging the importance of breath is also part of indigenous African traditions as an acknowledgment of the connections between our ancestors and ourselves. African scholars have shared:
Every atom of oxygen we take into our bodies when we breathe has to be processed according to the formula that has been handed down to us by our ancestors. This is a very fundamental connection in itself.—Sykes
In fact, yoga and breathing practices were practiced in Kemet or ancient Egypt. These practices were not only meant to create and maintain peace, but also to connect with our ancestors. What if by breathing, quietly, if even for a moment, we could connect with those before us who survived so that we could thrive?
Mindful breathing is known to reduce stress, increase calm and clarity, and increase awareness. Biologically, when we breathe in, we bring oxygen to our cells. Our bodies use oxygen to perform certain functions that keep us alive. The oxygen in our bodies is needed to create energy. When we breathe out, we let out carbon dioxide. Emotionally and spiritually when we breathe in, we inhale positive energy (that which is needed for us to keep moving forward and to survive) and when we breathe out, we exhale negative energy (that which is stale and stagnant).
When we engage in a mindful practice, we provide space for ourselves to focus on what we need. We press pause on the chaos of the world around us or even the beauty of the world around us, and press play on tuning into ourselves. We live in a world that problematizes being still and taking time for self, but if we are to survive (and I want us to survive), we have to center ourselves. This means taking time for ourselves even if it is for five minutes while waiting on a client, taking a break in the restroom, in between phone calls, or while waiting on a meal to finish cooking.
Sis, this is not your White, co-workers, co-modified or co-opted mindful breathing. It does not require any purchases. It does not require a mat, certain clothes, or settings, but it does require you to choose you. You can practice mindful breathing between sips of coffee or tea. You can practice mindful breathing right before closing your eyes for the evening or while in your car before you enter your home. All you need is three things, your awareness, one breath in and one breath out. I would love for you to take more than one full breath cycle, but if that is all the time you have, then take that one full breath, Sis!
I have several go-tos when it comes to enhancing my meditation and breathwork practice. There are two that are specifically for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities called Exhale and Liberate.
If you are interested in just checking out a quick breathing exercise before committing to an app or if you just want to hear me talk ;), I have curated a short mindful breathing practice for you to try. Let me know your thoughts, and remember to take time for you.