Breathing is instrumental in the aftermath of grief. I was completely unaware of the benefits of breathing intentionally and yoga, but deep breaths were instinctual those first few weeks without Jenna. I remember being so overwhelmed with grief. Surges of tremendous sadness would nearly wipe me out, physically, emotionally and mentally. It took all I had to exist. My survival instinct was inhaling deeper because my body could feel the emotions of grief taking a toll on me physically. These deeper breaths began making me more in tune with my own body. Slowly.
Three years later I found yoga.
Turns out breathing is pretty incredible and something we don’t focus on enough in health overall.
Most of us use a fraction of our lung’s capacity, which ultimately means we are depriving our body from nutrient rich blood and oxygen. Most lungs have a capacity of 4-6 liters and most of us camp out with shallow breathing (using only our chest and not engaging our core and belly), activating only a 1/2 liter capacity of our full lungs!
In grief, it is even more vital to pay attention to your health and wellness as your sympathetic nervous system has hijacked your immune system and bodily functions, only giving attention to the most dire of needs. We can only live in a fight or flight mode for so long though before we feel it’s effects.
Fatigue, acne, weight loss or weight gain, depression, sleep troubles just to name a few.
Breathing is certainly not going to whisk your troubles away, but it is such a fundamental and practical place to start.
I’ve attached a handout which I originally created for a yoga workshop I spoke at recently on the importance of breathing in yoga. Click the image below to download and print.