It's possible to hold your breath without realizing you're doing it. In the little seconds in between the sighs and exhales, we pause. We wait. The tension builds. The body reacts. And yes, eventually we breathe and eventually the body loosens. But then we do it again- we constrict and suffer the lack of so desperately needed life.
It's a trap we fall into over and over again, unconsciously. And yes, it's a habit. And the instruction is SO simple: just breathe. The easiest, most natural thing is the right thing to do. Just breathe.
After a year of training and conscious practice I'm realizing that all the techniques I use- meditation and mindfulness and taking that so necessary pause before reacting and catching myself in my crazy thought process and letting go and all of it are the same: the easiest, most natural things to do. The worrying and analyzing and questioning and asking is just holding my breath. And releasing it works exactly the same way.
The trick is, we forget that we can control our breath. It happens so unconsciously, we don't pay attention to it. So when we don't, we tend to accept that. "Ooopps- I'm holding my breath again." It's easy to dismiss, and there's no blame. My mistake, is that I DON'T forget that I can control my thoughts, so rather than just dismissing the mistake I get down on myself.
"Why do you keep doing this? You know better!" This is what I tell myself, as if that's gonna help.
And yet, it's no different than the breath. When I stop paying attention, I may hold it- the thought, the worry, the label. And the tension will return, and the body will react. But as soon as I notice it, I can choose to let go, just like the breath I've been holding. No judgements, no shoulds, no questions- just letting go and breathing. The most natural things in the world.