Sometimes it eludes you.
You realize you have gone through your day taking only short sips of air through your mouth. It isn't until you feel the tightness in your chest that you realize your lungs have not had the chance to expand--in and out, in and out. You don't know when you stopped taking full, belly-deep breaths only that now they have turned shallow.
You stop what you are doing and simply stand there. You close your eyes. And you breathe. It is a slow breath in; you feel the air filling your lungs and making its way down to your belly. You feel each rib expanding. You feel your chest opening up, shedding the short survival breaths and the pinched feeling that came with them. You breathe out, letting a slow stream of air leave first your belly then your chest, finally your nostrils.
You do it again and again, pausing between your inhale and exhale. Now you feel your breath, not just in your lungs and belly, but your veins, your spine. It travels through each sinewy muscle bringing life with it; it sings up your spine--a vibrant coil of Shakti energy. You feel it down in your toes last. They tingle and reach towards the earth, grounding you to this world.
And you move through your day once again aware, once again firmly planted in your own skin, air filling your lungs one long, deliberate breath at a time.
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