Greetings, friends! It’s the time of year for dance and choir concerts, sporting events, finals, graduations and graduation parties, plays and musicals, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, garden planting, spring cleaning…are you still breathing?
Last week, I listened to the Food Revolution Summit online, with John & Ocean Robbins. I was not able to hear every single interview, because I also had the Spring Conference for my school, IIN, going on over the weekend. (At the same time, we had guests from out of town, and our daughter was in a musical.) Here’s what I thought: “Wow. A lot of people are on board to change things in our world around health and food–what we eat and how we produce it.”
I also thought, once again, that my school is awesome! Where else are thousands of people gathered together from dozens of countries to learn about food, and how to help each other in the area of health? Well, I know that there are other such places; but I’m pretty passionate about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! (And I DO think it’s unique.)
Back here in Colorado, I’m just trying to catch my breath. Yesterday was my daughter’s 22nd birthday. So, we took the day off to go hiking in the Rocky Mountains. We were walking on top of several feet of snow, the weather was perfect, and there was plenty of fresh air and delightful conversation. Also, there was no stress whatsoever. Glorious!
And speaking of fresh air…during the IIN conference, Dr.Andrew Weil took us through a breathing exercise. (Click here for more info from Dr.Weil.) I use various breathing exercises and techniques to relax and quickly re-focus my brain. Breathing, of course, is foundational in yoga practice. It’s funny that we sort of forget to breathe, doing only what we must to survive. Breath exercise helps deepen breath; it feels as if air is entering every cell in the body; and in a way, it is.
For me, breath work is not about an eastern-style meditation; but it is about re-focusing my attention. Rather than attempting to empty my brain of all thought, I find it useful and rejuvenating to meditate on a verse of scripture or just a phrase from a verse. Sometimes, I simply bring my attention to God, and rest there. We are so busy that we can forget to do things like breathing and resting, things we really need to do.
A beautiful hike in the mountains, or any place outdoors that you you enjoy, can give you an opportunity to re-focus, shift your experience of time, and fill your body with fresh oxygen. It can be a walking meditation. Your body needs such times of refreshing, I believe. Your soul certainly needs it! If you can’t get away into nature for a few minutes or hours, take a minute, literally, to close your eyes and just breathe.