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Breathe In, Breathe Out.

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I had a rough time sleeping the other night.

I listened to my husband breathe as the air moved in and out of his lungs. Life-giving air gently moving and nourishing. His body was fully relaxed, regenerating from the day’s activities. I envied him in that moment. My mind was processing and my stomach was less than happy.

That lazy rise and fall of his chest reminded me to breathe deep. Take a moment, a pause before I exhaled and released. Feel the way my body moved, expanding and contracting. A little meditation on my own breath, connecting within. Focusing my mind on the rhythm in an effort to release the processing and reduce the focus on my tummy.

Eventually, my mind went to the ins and outs of breathing. (Pun intended.)

When my stomach tightened up I’d hold my breath. And as it relaxed, I’d exhale.

I started thinking about all of the other times we hold our breath. I wondered why we do this.

Anticipation comes to mind. The anticipation of something happening. Perhaps expecting something to hurt. Flinching waiting for an impact and contracting muscles in preparation. 

I used to hold my breath when I cried. Like the pain, my heart was experiencing took my breath away and I simply couldn’t breathe. I’d cry harder while gasping for breath between holding it, praying to hold back the expression of emotion breaking free. 

When someone says something shocking it’s common to heave a sharp intake and hold it as we contemplate a response. And perhaps it’s a symbolic manifestation of holding your tongue and blocking your voice. To hold yourself back for one reason or another.

In dreamless sleep, we usually don’t hold our breath. The subconscious rhythm of in and out is largely smooth and easy. We are at peace and safe in our cocoon of a bed. We know the space and therefore are able to let go.

During wake times I think it’s often reactionary and prohibitive. Like an attempt at protection from what may come. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Count to ten” before responding or “Take a few deep breaths” to calm down. 

When working with a client I often remind them to breathe. I can feel them holding on and the simple reminder to breathe brings more healing and peace. Encouraging a deep breath helps to move through the issues being faced.

I think this is why I encourage people to find their niche in meditation. It doesn’t have to be sitting in a lotus position or some other specific rule. I feel it all comes down to reminding yourself to breathe. 

Take it in.

Let it out.

Focusing on the simple action can clear the mind and bring moments of respite and healing. 

I encourage us all to tune in a little. Take that breath. Allow it to move and feel better for doing it.

 


 

Journal Prompts:

The next time you find you’re holding your breath, check in and ask why.

  1. What do I need in this moment?
  2. How can I alleviate some of my discomfort?
  3. Is there something I need to say and am holding back from? If so, why?
  4. When you do take that moment, notice the shift in your mind and heart. How do they feel different?

 


 

 

                                         with love,

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