Infinite Breath

Breath is the key to relaxing, connecting and feeling.    
Find your breath and all else will come in time. 

    You will never come across something so simple and effective as your own breath.  I learned this personally while training for the Los Angeles Marathon.  I was unable to reach my higher mileage runs no matter how I pushed myself.  I could not run over 16 miles without completely depleting.  I had found it impossible no matter how much water I drank or how much sleep I got-- nothing was working.

    I started talking about my problem to my jogging partner. He had not been training for the marathon and still never seemed to be as tired or winded as I was after our runs together.  Being he is several years younger than myself, I assumed that his youth gave him his edge on me.  I kept on struggling and gasping to get to 17 miles straight. 

    On a night run in Santa Monica on  the beach, I was again complaining about my struggle and being very negative about not having the energy to complete the marathon.  I was not getting enough mileage on the longer runs and if I didn't start achieving more miles I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. 
    He ran along side me for a while, listening to my complaining,  and then asked me, "How are you breathing?"  I remember thinking to myself, I breath just fine! I  gave a dismissed response and knew that nothing was incorrect with my breathing.  How wrong I was.

    He stopped me after my tirade and told  me to stand still and breathe.  I did, I gulped up as much air as I could through my mouth and exhaled loudly for effect.  Then he said, "no, breathe through your nose, not your mouth."  I did, and it was difficult!  I could hardly get any air through my nose at all.  I  began panicking and felt the need to run again.  
    All the while being observed, he gently touched my upper arms and pulled me into his chest.  Once again he said, "breathe through your nose."  He was holding me loosely and breathing in and out through his nose.  I could feel his chest and stomach expand  into me.  That stopped me in my tracks. His stomach moved with his breath!  My stomach didn't do that and I could hardly get any air through my nose.  What the hell is going on!  After struggling through several nose breaths, and feeling like I might suffocate, I flexed my nose out and got a full long breath in.  I felt such relief in my whole body as the cool air moved down my throat gaining heat as it dropped lower into the bottom most part of my lungs.  At the same moment the air hit the bottom of my lungs the top of my stomach moved in a slow tight movement out.  My lungs expanded from the bottom up for the first time in my life, and it felt amazing!

    I had spent my entire life breathing, but never getting a  full breath into my body.  I am still amazed at times from the feeling of expansion in my whole body when I take the time to breath in and out slowly.  

    For the rest of the run we ran much slower, less thoughts raced in my mind as I concentrated on the breath tickling my long under used nostrils as it moved into my whole being.  When I sped up and started panting again, my partner reminded me in a gentle voice,  "breathe through your nose slowly Melbe, take your time and you will get there."  Come to think of it,  he still says the same thing to me still almost daily.  Breathe!