To relax, to improve health, to change the world, just breathe

Last night I attended the monthly Austin NLP meetup. Katie Raver, who was raised by an NLP-trained mom and who is a co-founder of Austin NLP and who created Year of the Breath in 2009, presented on the topic Breathing Life into Rapport.

Note: Katie is my temporary roommate. And she loves my cat, Mango. I may be biased.

Katie drew on her experiences in Hawai’i (where ha means breath, thus Hawai’i, aloha, ha‘ole — without breath, ha prayer). When she returned, she noticed how shallow breathing negatively impacted a work-related meeting she was in, and she experimented with pacing and then leading the alpha person at the meeting (not the speaker, but the key decision maker) to breathe more deeply, thus changing the state of the meeting for all 17 people present. Only Katie — or as we call her, the instigator of love — was aware of how that shift occurred.

We had fun doing exercises like matching someone’s breathing while talking to them and matching their breathing while they’re talking to you. Sorry you missed it.

I must say, it’s a lovely experience to have a room full of people breathing in unison. It’s on a par with hearing a room full of people all chanting OM. Deep. Alive. Powerful. 

 Today an email led me to this NPR article dated Dec. 6, 2010, Just Breathe: Body Has a Built-In Stress Reliever.

As it turns out, deep breathing is not only relaxing, it’s been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system — and maybe even the expression of genes.

Yogis and meditators know this. Breath is powerful.

But more importantly, [breathing exercises] can be used as a method to train the body’s reaction to stressful situations and dampen the production of harmful stress hormones.

Click the link to read up on the latest scientific findings about using breath to influence health and well-being.

You can also make meetings more satisfying. At least you won’t be bored.

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