By Katie Staab
I opened my eyes, disoriented in the snowy January twilight, and immediately knew I needed to focus on my breath. I was just coming to after losing control of my car on an icy road, resulting in a collision that sent my car careening into the ditch. In the hours to come, I’d learn that my four rib fractures had punctured my right lung, filling my chest cavity with fluid and collapsing my lung. Yet, even without the medical explanations, I knew in that initial moment of consciousness that I needed to breathe.
Since my accident, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about breathing. Deep breathing is important to the physical healing of my lung, but I’m also learning its place in the emotional, mental and spiritual process of healing. In yoga, prana is a sanskrit word for breath, but more importantly, it implies our life force. If we choose to think about our breath being a force that carries with it our life and what we go through, it takes on a whole new meaning.
Here are three lessons I’ve learned about breathing through my recovery:
Breathing creates pause, helping us create space for healing in our bodies, minds and busy lives. There’s a reason that we take a deep breath when we need to pause. It’s a physical way of pulling the reins on ourselves when our thoughts or emotions threaten to run out of control. Likewise, healing (physical, emotional or otherwise) requires us to pause our busy lives — slow down, rest, reflect. Deep breathing helps remove the pressure of our hurried lives, reminding us that this pause isn’t an inconvenience to be rushed through, but a rich, revitalizing season of life. Continue reading