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As Autumn vibrancy saturates the beautiful Canadian Rockies, a book opens in my hands One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet by one of my favourite authors, Richard Wagamese.

As Richard outlines 'The first Ceremony; The Sacred Breath' from Anishinaabe First Nations teachings, I am once again in awe of congruity among varying paths to self-understanding.

The Sacred Breath asks us to breathe a slow, relaxed exhale as long as we comfortably can while acknowledging “I am one with Creation.”

The philosophy of yoga invites us to dissolve our perceived sense of separation through the exhale.

I haven’t yet found a spiritual system that doesn’t incorporate conscious breathing as a foundational practice.

Now, modern science explains why and how the way we breathe directly affects all aspects of wellness, from anxiety to disease.

There has never been a more exciting time to start a breathing practice!

What happens when you breathe better? Here's what Linda and Joyce noticed: It happens to be an extra busy time for me. The Breathe Better Now program has been so helpful, calming, steadying. I realize that while I think I "know" certain things about the breath, there is more and more and more to experience and I'm grateful for these experiences. -Linda Chamberlain, Alaska

Since practicing breathing techniques with Julie, I notice I have more energy. The first moment I realized this was in my morning routine of carrying tea up to our bedroom. In the past, I would arrive at the top of the stairs breathlessly. Now I have breath and energy to spare. I haven’t changed anything else, other than adding regular breathing practice of 15 minutes per day. It's great to feel better and more energy, just from this! - Joyce Keith, Canmore AB What will you notice? Sign up for the Free Breath Better Now program.

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For some time, commercial airline pilots have looked suspiciously young to me, but more recent evidence of being “over-the-hill” took me by surprise.

Wishing to replace missing pieces of my stainless steel flatware set, I inquired into their availability through the manufacturer. Mikasa's service representative replied, “We don’t have a curator or historian on staff to search that pattern.”

Whaaaaat? A curator or historian is needed to identify my eating utensils? These were not my Mother's - nor my Grandma’s collection - they can't be that old!

I shook my head, sighed deeply, and resigned -yet again- to being "older."

Oh, how the ego likes to remind us of the confines of time.

As the ego plays on, it also brings gratitude for being alive in these transformative times.

I am blessed to have enjoyed 30,000 meals with this “historic” set of flatware. The spoons were among the first utensils to meet my daughters' sticky fingers, and every piece was shared by friends and family in gatherings of the heart.

And if that's not enough, my hair color matches my favored flatware more each day. I'll bet I didn't think of that as a bright young bride making a wish list in the Hudson's Bay department store.

No matter your current place "on the hill", we're trekking it together. If we pay attention, take care of ourselves and each other, the view keeps improving.

There’s something deep inside us that knows we are beyond swiftly passing time.

I invite you, right now, to prove it to yourself:

Feel into your essence; the very aliveness within. Like an Easter egg hunt, feel under or through any fatigue, energy, or whatever may be most obvious at first glance. Don't think about it, just notice and feel.

Has the underlying feeling of "being you" changed since your earliest memories? You might just recognize a feeling that has been here all along. It doesn't feel old or young.

Our body is time-bound but essential nature is not.

If this is as clear as mud, don't worry - it is a practice.

Recognizing wholeness and completeness beyond limitations is why I practice and share free weekly live-stream iRest@ Yoga Nidra meditations and am gifting you today with a sample recording.

When we know ourselves as more than this time-bound body, we are free to recognize our essence and to be the amazing, joyful human beings we are meant to be.

P.S I can think of no better way to prime the pump of our body as it receives life force, than to breathe consciously and strategically. If you haven’t yet received your seven days of 12-minute practices with me, to “Breathe Better Now”, you can still sign up now.

Oh, and if you like your current flatware, stock up while you can. Time flies. :)

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Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Try this out, ask someone to take a deep breath. Notice what they do.

Did they breath in quickly, puffing up their chest? Maybe their shoulders lifted noticeably and perhaps they quickly exhaled through their mouth?

Maybe that person you are noticing is you.

We've come to believe a few things about breathing that are just not true. Here's my five faves:

Myth #1

More is Better

As with most good things in life, quality rates higher than quantity. When it comes to breathing, less is actually more.

Slow breathing removes toxic byproducts, increases circulation and supports blood pressure and heart beat synchronicity. It improves oxygenation of the blood and increases vagal tone, shifting our nervous system to the 'rest and digest response.

Myth #2

Carbon Dioxide is Toxic

CO2 regulates the release of oxygen into our tissues. Low CO2 means low levels of oxygen absorption into the body. Among other benefits, this useful gas controls our PH balance, buffers free radicals, lowers inflammation, dilates smooth muscles such as arteries, reproductive organs, intestines.

Myth #3

For health, there are more important things I can do than learn to breathe well.

Breathing well is one of the best ways you can improve your emotional and physical health, decrease stress and minimize the affects of aging. Purposeful, effective breathing practices will affect how you breath through the rest of the day and night. Learning to breathe will is an important self-care skill.

Myth #4

I would know if my breathing was a problem.

By the time most people realize their breathing is compromised, they've already had a 70% decrease of the factional capacity of their lungs. When you get to know your own breathing rates through breathing exercises and counting, you will be more in touch with your health for proactive care.

Myth #5

I have athsma, or another condition that has affected my breathing. I can't do much about my breath.

Gentle, skillful and purposeful breathing practices can change the way we breathe and enhance our life, no matter the conditions we find ourselves in.

Seek medical advice when in doubt and don't give up. I've not given up on you!

If you found this helpful and would like to learn more, please comment, I've got more myths to bust!

Are you ready to breathe better? Join my free course.

Julie Seibt is an I.A.Y.T Certified Yoga Therapist, specializing in movement for reducing pain, breath and meditation. Julie resides in Canmore, Alberta, Canada - a lovely cycle or ski away from Banff National Park.

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