Yawning Newborn
Photo © Vivid Pixels, iStockPhoto #00000382919

Breathe.

Cheap goal, right? You breathe or you die. Try not to and your brain stem pulls out the override.

Just because you’re alive, doesn’t mean you know how to breathe. Under stress (and when are you not under stress?), you go around holding your breath. Once I noticed I’d been holding my breath on the freeway–and wasn’t sure I had breathed for miles. This cannot be good for driver consciousness.

Einstein’s definition of insanity was “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” If you couldn’t write (or think, or plan, or communicate) when you weren’t breathing consciously, try breathing and see what happens. It’s remarkable how much smarter you are in a brain with oxygen. Even better, being still and breathing deeply makes divine inspiration more likely. Inspire literally means to breathe.

And yes, yawning is a good thing. I actually welcome it in my classroom as a sign that students are processing and that we need get up and move.

So this year, instead of focusing on all I hope to accomplish and experience this year, I’m keeping it simple. First, I breathe. Then I see what I’m supposed to do next.

In case you need breathing lessons as much as I do, here are a few resources:

Brain Gym®: Take even one class, Brain Gym 101, and be amazed.

Yoga. My Yoga Online has a series of free videos. You Can Do It Yoga is a gentle version designed for MS patients, so it’s also great for anyone else who needs to be careful.

Guided meditations. Davidji at the Chopra Center has a wonderful series for free.

So catch your breath, and let me know what happens.

Text © Gwyn Nichols 2010

Photo © Vivid Pixels, iStockPhoto #00000382919