Breath Play

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

Isn’t it amazing how good questions lead us naturally to good answers, and how beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we’ve opened the doors to discovery and wonder and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that matter every day.

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Compared to the general population, relatively few people die of a sudden lack of oxygen caused be suffocation or asphyxiation or strangulation. Yet countless people suffer needlessly every day because they aren’t breathing significantly.

Join me this week as we consider an effective way of breathing that can help you let go of tension and stress as well as bringing you more fully into the present. Stay with me.


photo: Scott Lennox


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This week’s podcast will be more interactive than most. In a few minutes, I’d like to guide you through a very simple, but revolutionary way of breathing you can use to release some of the tension you’ve been holding. You’ll naturally relax as you release toxins, fill yourself with oxygen, and bring yourself more fully into the present.

How often have we heard someone tell us, “Relax. Take a breath” only to discover that when we breathe in deeply and hold it, we feel even more tension and anxiety than we did before we inhaled?

It may sound paradoxical, but inhaling and then exhaling is backwards when it comes to releasing tension and deeply letting go.

Years ago, I had a valuable lesson about exactly that.

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I’d been practicing martial arts and yoga and meditation for quite a few years when I met the master teacher who quietly revolutionized not only my training, but my life. On the day I first met him, he invited me to join him in the middle of his dojo.

“I need to see what you know,” he said.

After dressing for our workout, I stood about six feet in front of him in the middle of the mat and we bowed at the waist, as is traditional in most schools. As I rose, he sprang at me so quickly that I gasped. I’d never seen anyone move with such catlike speed.

Smiling broadly, he took a step back and said, “Ah! Just as I thought. You breathe backwards.”

I knew it was pointless but couldn’t keep from explaining that breathing in and out and in and out wasn’t backwards. “Take a stance and breathe in deeply,” he said. When I did, he easily pushed me over with only two fingers, then gestured to the place where I’d been standing before I went to the floor.

I regained my composure as he softly said, “Again. But this time, breathe out all the air in you—all of it—and don’t be made of wood or stone or steel. Be made out of wind or breath or cloud. Become invisible.”

When I got to my feet, I took a relaxed “side horse” stance and exhaled all the way to the bottom of my belly, allowing myself to soften, which was uncharacteristic of me at that time. When he put two fingers against the center of my chest and pushed, my body easily rotated to the left.

His hand slid off me, and I was still standing.

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Over the years that have followed, I’ve had the privilege of sharing this revolutionary difference in breathing with thousands of people in personal and clinical settings. Today, if you’re open to it, I’d like to share it with you and walk you through it several times.

Sitting or standing or lying down, allow yourself to settle a bit and take your time as you slowly push all of the breath out of you, right down to the last little traces.

That’s right. Take your time.

Now, without straining at all, pause for a few moments. You’re no longer breathing out. You’re not yet breathing in. And you’re not holding your breath. There is no tension or strain as you simply allow yourself to be consciously in neutral. You’re mindfully relaxed.

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When you feel the urge to breathe in again, allow your belly to soften and slowly allow your in-breath to fill you as deeply as you like. This is not about force. It’s about allowing the breath to happen.

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Now, at the top of the breath, pause like you did after you fully exhaled. Once again, you’re not holding your breath. You aren’t straining or struggling. You’re simply allowing yourself to be in neutral as your body and your mind and your emotions come back into sync with one another. This gives your nervous system time to reset itself.

In fact, you can think of this resting place as an internal resetting of your finest self.

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And when it feels right, slowly breath out again, taking your time as you gently but strongly push all the air out of you down to the last little bit.

Take your time. We’re in no hurry at all.

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And now pause again, allowing yourself to rest in this neutral place just a bit longer than you did before with no strain and no sense of urgency.

That’s right. Feel what’s happening as you let go into this marvelous way of being completely in control of yourself.

And as you did before, when it feels right to you, gently release your belly as you slowly fill yourself with air again, feeling the air coming into you as you breathe in, just like that.

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With only the slightest bit of practice, you’ll find yourself pausing longer between breaths. Notice how your body and mind and emotions settle as you do. This is a marvelous gift that no one can give you but yourself. And while it takes only a few moments, it can help you shift how you engage with yourself and with life.

Instead of making grand promises, I invite you to do some of your own exploring and see what things naturally change for the better as you become more and more mindful, and as you let it go, and let it go, and very gently let all of it go.

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This week’s Beautiful Questions are direct ones about breath play. I look forward to hearing from you as you make this kind of breathing a regular part of your day and as you consider my questions.

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Question One: What first came to mind when I suggested exhaling first instead of taking in a deep breath in?

Question Two: What do you notice inside yourself when you stop and practice this new and deeply healing way of being with yourself?

Question Three: As you practice this more effective way of breathing, what do you notice about how you were breathing before you became mindful about it?

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As always, it you’re willing to share it with me, write and tell me what you discover as you sit with this week’s questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light!

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I’m happy we can engage this way as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world. It’s a great way of spreading peace.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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