Breathing, breathing, breathing. It sounds so simple, but oh…it’s not. My natural breath is really short and shallow. Most of my physical sensations stay in my head and throat. If I take a deep breath like this…boom! Shoulders up, chest moves, belly stays inert. This is not proper deep breathing…but proper deep breathing is soooo hard to sustain!
I shouldn’t whine. It’s a basic building block that I’ve sorely neglected. I think I need to re-evaluate how I begin my day. I should block out fifteen or so minutes in the morning to practice deep breathing and meditation.
As a side note, I really appreciate what Roderick gives as his reason for starting with meditation and breathing: “The magical ceremonies of Wicca typically begin and end in the direction of the east, which symbolically corresponds to the element of air. It is fitting that your journey along the mystic path of Wicca begins with air and breathing. Mastering breath control is your first act of empowerment.” Well said.
Exercise: Powerful Breathing
Take a slow, deep breath. As you do notice what happens. Does your rib cage hike up and cause your shoulders to wrap around your ears? Does it feel as though it stops short in your throat? That’s improper breathing. Don’t worry, most of us who lead stressful, fast-paced lives do that. Let’s jump right in and learn the secret of a powerful, magical breath.
As you take your next slow, deep breath, focus your attention on drawing the air in and down. You want to create the sensation that your belly fills with air as your back expands in the process. As you exhale, allow the breath to go naturally. Now that’s good breathing.
Next, let’s focus on the exhalation. Practice releasing your breath just as slowly as you’ve inhaled it. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Notice how your tension just seems to melt away? The next time you face a stressful situation, take time to breathe deeply and slowly and you’ll quickly regain your composure. Just get cut off on the freeway? Breathe. Is your boss on your case? Breathe. It will soon pass and you’ll be all the more relaxed in the meantime.
Practice powerful breathing at least once daily, for three to five minutes at a time. A deeply relaxed state of mind and powerful energy raised by proper breathing is what Wiccans need to successfully employ their craft. Powerful breathing is the first step toward a thriving magical practice.
I am a “ribs around the ears” person, but when I consciously try to bring the air in and down, to fill my belly, the relaxation is unparalleled. The tension does melt away, and I feel more…open? The trick for me right now is to find a way to bring that conscious movement of breath to the unconscious. When I do slide into the “white space” that for me is the beginnings of a meditative mindset, my body slips into my normal breath patterns again, and after some time I’m brought back to normal consciousness. It’s frustrating.
Three to five minutes at least once daily. I think I can do that. It’s a matter of discipline…and I’ve been very lax lately. I shall and will work it in.