For thousands of years, people have used the art of breathing for equally profound effects on the mind and body.
Some have used it for relief from chronic pain. Many more to cope with anxiety, stress and depression. Some claim it led to spiritual enlightenment.
But I'm as spiritual as a housebrick ...
... so I use it to help me appreciate the bittersweet beauty of everyday life.
Your breath is the greatest asset you have. It's naturally meditative and always with you. It reflects your most powerful emotions and allows you to either soothe or harness them. It helps you to feel solid, whole, and in complete control of your life while grounding you in the present moment, clarifying the mind, and unshackling your instincts.
The art of breathing kindles a sense of wonder, awe, and curiosity - the very foundations of a happier and more meaningful life.
It grants you the courage to accept yourself with all of your faults and failings. To treat yourself with the kindness, empathy and compassion that you truly need, and helps you to look outwards and embrace the world.
Mindful breathing teaches you that your most powerful states of mind are reflected in the body as physical sensations.
Be aware of these sensations. Each one is a message.
If you ignore them, or suppress them, then they will become ever more insistent and distressing until you can resist them no longer.
It's one of the most powerful sources of unhappiness and distress.
But there is an alternative.
If you consciously listen to these messages by actively feeling them in your body then something miraculous can happen. You'll realise that they rise and fall like the waves on the sea or your breath in your body.
And before long they'll begin to melt away of their own accord, leaving behind a calmer, happier, and more insightful mind.