Thank goodness we don't have to think about breathing but what if we did?
My mom smoked for many years and eventually successfully quit. I always wondered was why she would tell us not to smoke but she did it anyway. Beyond the impacts of nicotine, there had to be something intelligent about the process that keep her coming back for more.
My mom had early childhood trauma with the death of her mom at the age of 14. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer when my mom was 12 years old, the same age she started smoking. Coincidence or coping?
Once I sat and thought about it I realized 3 things.
Smoking is a ritual that takes us out of our current environments. When we light up we usually go outside, commune with friends, sit in our cars and quiet places removing us from stressors.
Smoking has intention. When we smoke we are intentional with the intensity and length of an inhale. On an exhale there is intention about releasing the breath slowly, watching the swirls of smoke. How much intention do you put in your deep breath?
Smoking is the most effective deep breath. The breath has 4 parts: inhale, retention, exhale and suspension. When we smoke we are touching all 4 parts of this process with precise intuition of how much to take in, how much to hold, how much to exhale and how much emptiness until the next puff.
I understand now the science of how a breath works and realize my mom didn't smoke because she wanted to hurt her body, she wanted to help her body. Under such stressful circumstances and lack of adult guidance she did the best she could with what her teenage brain knew.
Take a peak at my video. I am excited to share with you this 4 part breath to support nervous system regulation.