Health and Wellness

It starts with the breath

Presence is a gift. The act of being whole in the moment, unscattered, is worth more than any jewel.

IT STARTS WITH the breath. Whether you are sitting, standing, resting, or walking, the simple act of being aware of your breath can bring you into the present and carry with it great peace, alleviating immense weight and burden from your mind and body.

Pause for a moment and be mindful of your breath. Place your hand on your stomach. Breathe in as you normally would. Your stomach should rise. Breathe out and your stomach deflate. Do this with your eyes open or closed—it doesn’t matter. If your eyes are open, concentrate on a single object such as a chair. Do not let your eyes wander or focus on a future worry. Say to yourself as you breathe peacefully:

I breathe in the present
I breathe out and feel peace in the moment

Being present is the greatest gift to ourselves, our minds, our bodies, our loved ones. It all starts with the breath.

Photo: Ach K. “The One Survived.” Licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

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