Before we’re born, we don’t even have to breathe on our own.
We take in oxygen through the placenta and the umbilical cord. The moment we leave the womb—the moment we are born—we are on our own.
We must breathe or we will die.
We gasp, we scream, we cry. Our lungs fill with air. They expand to full capacity for the first time.
Our first breath is so important, that Dr. Henry Truby of Sweden conducted a study where he was able to predict the personality, weaknesses and relative health of 15,000 children seven years later, after hearing only the form and intensity of their first cry.
These lungs that are expanding to capacity need more oxygen now. They begin to receive more blood flow than they received while we were in the womb. As a fetus, the lungs served virtually no purpose, so the divine intelligence of the body didn’t send a heavy flow of oxygenated blood there. It would have been a waste of fetal energy.
As a newborn, the umbilical cord is now no longer serving us. The body’s divine intelligence, once again, creates changes. The veins begin to constrict. They will eventually atrophy, leaving behind what we know as a “belly button.”
Use it or lose it.
No one teaches us to breathe. The compression of the fetal chest in the birth canal may cause the urge the breath. We are compressed, we are trapped, we need space—so our innate instinct is to breathe.
We know this as a newborn, because we haven’t yet learned to doubt, to mistrust.
We don’t learn how to breathe, but as we get older, we learn not to breathe.
As we grow, we also contract, and constrict as we learn fear, anxiety and stress. Our muscles contract and tense up when we are afraid, stressed or anxious. The fascia clings together. We hold our breath. We unconsciously learn not to breathe, not to fill our lungs to capacity, not to stand tall and take up space. We slouch and we shrink, fearful of being noticed, fearful of standing out.
Then one day we realize that we need to use our breath, our muscles, our body.
For me, it happened when I was about to lose my sanity—I realized I must use my breath and my body.
We are made of space, literally. We are made of exploding star stuff. Our atoms are 99 percent devoid of matter. They are empty.
We need the space—the expansion—that breathing creates.
It helps us to continue creating space, to become devoid of conditioning to continue unlearning the fear, anxiety, and stress that we have learned, the stories that we’ve held on to for dear life, even though they were no longer serving us. We continued using them, we didn’t let them atrophy and fall away like the umbilical cord we no longer needed as we progressed from a fetus to a newborn.
It helps us expand our bodies and our constricted, tightened muscles.
It helps us grow taller.
It helps us let go.
We allow the fear, anxiety, and stress to force us into a corner, until the urge to breathe is so strong that like the newborn baby whose chest was compressed in the birth canal, we let out a gasp, a cry, a scream.
We are reborn in that moment. Our lungs expand. Our awareness expands. We let go.
Every moment is our first breath—it is that vital, that important—the right here, right now.
Every moment can be that beautiful, as beautiful as baby’s first breath; perhaps those first cries are the throes of ecstasy, announcing one’s divinity: “Hello world, I am here!”
Don’t be afraid to take up space—breathe.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta
Like elephant health and wellness on Facebook.
hot on elephant
A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 1,407 share Learn to Rock your Social Media & Write Mindfully with Waylon Lewis & Elephant’s Editors. 5 shares 2017 is The Year of Kali, Goddess of Endings & Beginnings. 22,266 shares If you Love her, Don’t Destroy Her. 14,739 shares The Best Marriage Advice from a Divorced Woman. 2,074 shares How to Disentangle ourselves from Karmic Relationships that Drive us Crazy. 160 shares The True Meaning of Friday the 13th (isn’t what we think). 5,262 shares The Technique that helps me make Decisions under Pressure (& has Saved my Life More than Once). 430 shares The 6 Best Spiritual Teachings of Wayne Dyer to help us Get Over Ourselves. 1,858 share Use This Buddhist Practice to Overcome Self-Doubt. 426 shares