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Intimacy, Breathing & Connection
by Liah Holtzman
What is intimacy?
Intimacy could be defined as knowing yourself or getting in touch with your Real Self. The word intimacy breaks down into three words: Into-Me-See. Seeing into yourself and letting others see your true nature creates intimacy.
Human intimacy takes many forms, has many different levels and can evoke certain feelings and memories. To better understand intimacy, let’s look at the word as an adjective. For instance, what do you think of when you say an "intimate dinner"? The words that come to my mind are: cozy, comfortable, warm, candlelight, tender, loving, kind, sensitive, real, authentic.
Another common use of the word intimate would be an "intimate conversation". How would you describe an intimate conversation? Talking about feelings is intimate. An intimate conversation also implies a sensitive, open, gentle conversation about real issues. Revealing our true nature through verbal communication could also define an intimate conversation. In order to create intimacy, we must be connected to our Intimate Self or Real Self.
To connect means to unite, join or link. One simple and valuable method for connecting with your Real Self or your true nature is through breathing. There are many words for this self – Essence, Divine Self, Intimate Self, Spirit and many more. The breath is the connection to our Spirit. With breath, we have spirit. Without breath, there is no spirit. Breathing is the foundation of human existence.
Breathing is the most important thing we do in all of life because we must oxygenate our bodies consistently to sustain life. However, have you ever had any formal breath education? Everyone assumes we are breathing properly and enough. This, however, is an inaccurate assumption.
There is one fact most people are not aware of and that is: Breathing is 70% of the body’s elimination system, processing stress, toxins and emotions. You can learn how to use your breath to reduce the stress of daily life, improve your elimination system and connect with your Intimate Self.
If you want less stress in your mind and body, breath awareness is the key. When you focus your attention on your breath, the mind slows down and the body relaxes. Much of our tension comes from our thinking.
Stanford University did a research study many years ago, determining the average American has 50 to 60 thousand thoughts a day. Unfortunately, many of these are negative, critical and filled with worry. This type of thinking creates tension and toxins. Less thinking relaxes the mind, which in turn relaxes the body. Learning to silence the mind through breath awareness could be one of the most valuable skills any human being could possess to make life more peaceful.
Compromised Elimination System:
Another statistic you may find interesting is that most people are only breathing about 20% of what they could. Since breathing is 70% of the body’s elimination system, to determine the effectiveness of our elimination process, we multiply 20 times 70 and get 14%. The other 30% of the body’s elimination system is going to the bathroom, crying and sweating, which processes the physical waste of the body. When you add 30% and 14% together, you get 44%. Because our breathing is so limited, we have in effect compromised our elimination system by approximately half. With this knowledge, integrating more breathing into our daily life makes sense.
Exercise or Sport:
Breathing is similar to an exercise or a sport. If you want to do a hundred push ups or be an Olympic ice skater, you would have to practice, build your stamina and push yourself to expand your ability and skill. It’s the same with breathing. Right now because we’ve only been breathing about 20% of what we could, our breathing stamina is low. However, if you commit to practicing every day and pushing yourself a little bit, your stamina and skill will increase. With this practice and commitment to breath, you will free yourself from the limitations of shallow breathing.
Breath education is valuable; however, the real magic comes through the actual practice of breathing. Practicing with a trained breath coach enhances the process and allows you to break free of any constraints to freedom. Releasing the breath creates a sensation of expansion and joy that brings more energy and alive ness.
Intimacy and Health:
Breathing is one of the most intimate things you can do with yourself because it takes you to the core of your being or your Real Self. Doctors are now discovering that intimacy is an important factor in health. Dr. Dean Ornish who wrote the book, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy says: "When you feel loved, nurtured, cared for, supported, and intimate, you are much more likely to be happier and healthier. You have a much lower risk of getting sick and, if you do, a much greater chance of surviving." He also says: "Love and intimacy are among the most powerful factors in health and illness, even though these ideas are largely ignored by the medical profession."
More and more, medical science is seeing the connection between breathing, intimacy and health. These simple activities may not be verifiable but may be vastly important. "Not everything that counts can be counted", says Dr. Ornish.
I have been interested in the relationship between breathing and well-being since 1978 and have had five different breath teachers, including Leonard Orr, Sondra Ray and Phil Laut, who are considered giants in the self-awareness field. My approach to breath awareness has helped thousands of people in both the United States and South America. Currently, I am teaching a class at the Self-Expression Center called "Intimacy, Breathing and Connection".
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