One of the fastest ways to connect with your body and practice the awareness you need for authentic healing and living an exceptional life is to focus on your breathing. Bringing your attention to your breathing and all the sensations that go along with it helps you arrive in your body, improve awareness and enhance healing.

Adults can take up to about thirty thousand breaths a day. The automatic act your body performs that keeps you alive often goes unnoticed; a process that can be the key to relaxation, stress relief and healing if we’d just pay attention.

Bringing conscious attention to and feeling the body coupled with quieting the mind is where the magic happens when it comes to easing muscle tension and relieving pain. This mindful practice is powerful. Breathing’s the fastest way there. And because we always have the opportunity to check in with the breath, there’s never a shortage of chances to practice this simple tool.

The practice is simply to gently bring your attention to the body by following the breath with your awareness and at the same time, quieting your thinking mind. That’s it. It’s a form of meditation that helps you be in your body which is the only place healing can occur. If you try to think your way out of pain you’ll only get tighter.

There’re many ways to use breathing as a healing focus; none of them wrong. You may have learned several forms depending on where you were or who was teaching you; yoga breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, deep breathing, transformational breathing…it’s all good. Trick is to actually practice; not let this amazing opportunity go to waste.

My breathing coach reminded me, “Fear is just excitement without the breath,” as we began a profound healing session during which I felt intense shifts in heart rate, breathing, and emotional states, including a full-body sweat response. How is this you might wonder? Breathing is a powerful way to access stuck mind body trauma.

We can use breathing techniques to help with things like fear and other emotions, including the energy from past trauma that gets stuck in the body’s tissues. When you realize emotions are all a feeling in the body you can use the physical act of breathing to explore, move through and shift them. It’s about separating yourself from your thoughts and instead relying on your feeling senses to guide you. Our thoughts are what add the suffering to our pain or fear. When you use breathing to help you feel without attaching to thoughts about what’s going on, you’ll be able to move more effortlessly through to something healthier.

Lauren Chelec Cafritz is a breath facilitator, speaker and the expert healer behind I found her through a friend several years back when I was interested in deepening and exploring breathing for healing. Lauren says, “Conscious breathing brings us back into the present moment where we’re not worrying about the past or future. It brings us back to home base where we can regroup and touch into something deeper. It calms and regenerates us. A few full deep breaths nourish our body mind and soul. Why wouldn’t we want to take breath breaks all day long to clear and center?”

From Lauren’s website: “Inhibited breathing patterns are created over time by daily life stresses, anxiety, and worry. These patterns often become the norm. Once established, your nervous system goes on “autopilot” and repeats these unhealthy patterns.” She goes on to say, “Practicing deep, full breathing allows you to feel good, open, clear, and confident. You are free and more available to be authentically you.”

Breathwork is present moment mindfulness work. It’s the practice of being in the only moment that really matters, the only opportunity for awareness, change and transformation; the now. In the sacred now moment there’s a bridge between body and mind. The quiet mindful focus on the breath is like standing in the middle of that bridge where there’s an integration of the whole self. And in that moment we’re able to hear the voice of our inner healer.

Once I began using breathing consciously my world changed. I noticed when my body was bracing, when it was afraid, and when it needed attention. With that awareness I had a choice to do something better and healthier – I could then take the action that would create a change.

Breath is life itself. It’s no wonder that conscious, focused breathing would be the gateway to improved health and wellbeing and in some cases profound healing. It’s just a matter of awareness and practice. You can start the journey today by just taking time to notice your breath and see where that leads you. Be curious and open to whatever you feel and get ready to learn the language of your inner healer.

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Laura Di Franco Probert is a holistic physical therapist, published author, poet, blogger and black belt with over two decades of experience in healing. Her programs combine the transformational tools of body awareness and therapeutic writing to help you learn the language of your intuition and gain the clarity you want for your life. Laura’s enthusiasm and passion for this work is contagious and the spark you’ll need to finally make the change you’ve been afraid to make. She’s the sherpa you’ve been looking for!