Just Breathe

image1A wise man once told me it’s important to breathe to your lung’s fullest capacity everyday. Deep breath exercises the vital muscle of one’s lungs. This is different from the gentle, concentrated breath of meditation, but both are important.  One is to trim the body; the other is to trim the mind.

I have not done very well on either front of late, but as the longer rays of light warm my ear through the window, I feel renewed commitment to finding the balance of breath.

I want to share an inspiring video a friend sent me last week. It takes just shy of four minutes to watch all the way through.




The video shows us that children have natural awareness of the power and importance of breathing. We adults tend to think we’re teaching our children, but so often they are teaching us. I’m going to stop writing now and go meditate. Will you join me?

What is your practice for breathing, either for the sake of your lungs or the sake of your mind?

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23 Responses to Just Breathe

  1. Steven Locke says:

    Eileen, what a great video. I will be sharing it with friends, family and patients. Thanks for posting it on your blog. – Best, Steve

  2. beautiful photos of children running on the beach seascape… beautiful insightful children talking about “breathing” in your posted video… Children bring smiles and tears to others, especially in today’s political world of power. Children. You have worked with children, teaching them developmental skills. I worked on strategy assignments for education companies. And, I worked,
    closely with my children, loving every single minute. Years back before the excessive bombing of
    Lebanon, I wanted to “find” money from banks and investors to build an elementary school, playground and small park in an area that had been bombed. I thought my proposal was realistic.
    I did not pursue my project because… Actually, I have never travelled to Lebanon, my grandparents’
    birthplace. I wanted to help and was confident that I could. Times have changed…things have gotten so much worse in the mideast.

    I breathe. I count my inhales–4–holding my breath–7 and exhaling–8, 4 repeats. I stretch and
    strengthen, daily and I make granola on Tuesday mornings, before your article appears!
    WE BREATHE. You build. Keep up your nice weekly articles and fund writing programs for kids.

  3. What a fine idea that was Elaine. Hopefully someone has found money to carry out your idea for those children. There are so many needs for children. They are our future. I managed to meditate for 15 minutes this morning and even that small amount started my day with a smile. I’ll try your breathing technique.

  4. Out of the mouths of babes… Beautiful… I’ve also read that our startle response usually includes a deep, sharp inhale. To erase, or reduce, the unwanted startle response, an full-lung exhale will usually reprogram the nervous system. It’s hard to be mad while exhaling!

  5. Rebecca says:

    mmmmmmm! I’ve just sent the video along to our school, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all elementary schools could teach this?! Thank you, Eileen

  6. Phyll says:

    Beautiful film and music. We can take a lesson from the wise words of the children in it. Deep breathing is so important for relaxation and equilibrium. For our very souls. Thank you for sharing about this, Eileen. Your blogs are so uplifting and inspiring.

    Am in bed with a cold, so what better time than to relax into the pillows, close eyes, be gentle, mindful, and breathe deeply. Patient: heal thyself. We ALL can!

  7. Warm greetings Eileen and thank you for posting. The video is a magnificent example of the wisdom of these beautiful children and how fortunate they are to learn breath-work in their curriculum. Thank you to Elaine Naddaff for posting her breathing technique; I recommend that we all follow what she does and don’t forget to inhale through the nose and exhale slowly through the mouth while pursing the lips to count of 8. I love the breathing techniques taught my yoga master teacher, Max Strom. I encourage folks to look him up. He wrote a helpful book: “A Life Worth Breathing” and has a home practice DVD called: “Learn to Breathe”…having said all of this, I often forget to incorporate all that I know into my daily life. Thanks Eileen for this wonderful reminder!! 🙂

    • Thanks for this resource Louise. I love how you, Elaine, and others are adding to the repertoire of breathing techniques. It seems ironic that we would need help with something so basic, but perhaps we humans aren’t as smart as we think! But then,have you ever seen a dog meditating? I guess it’s thinking that gets in the way!

  8. Richard Trenner says:

    This is a great post on an important subject, Eileen. And thanks for showing us that little film. The photography is gorgeous. More to the point, the children are beautifully articulate, as is often the way with children who have been loved and listened to rather than shaped and spoken to.

    I’ve found yoga to be a great way to breathe better and deeper. I’ve had several good and generous (and patient) yoga teachers over the years….

    True little story: The phone JUST rang as I typed the preceding sentence. “Congratulations!” said a very happy-sounding recorded voice. “You’ve just been selected to win a free cruise to the Bahamas.” Now this did NOT take my breath away because I win a free cruise to the Bahamas at least twice a month. (I’m holding my breath for a free trip to Bhutan.)

    At a party Saturday night, I saw an old friend who had gone through a long divorce. It had been a tough time for both of them, but my friend looked and said she’s “very happy.” She introduced me to her partner who, after a while, told me what he does for a living: “I teach breathing.” Interesting, I thought, especially since my friend’s former husband sells life insurance.

    So to “hold your breath,” “catch your breath,” “take a breather,” “baited breath,” “breathless,” “breath-taking,” “heavy breathing,” “breathy,” “breath of fresh air,” etc., we can now add “breathing teacher.”

  9. Ahh the many ways we can use a good breath. Years ago I saw a “breath doctor” in New York. He had me inhale all the way and on the (slow) exhale I had to count to 10 over and over again! He trained singers primarily but I went to him to help my sinuses! The vibration of breathing helps them! Thanks for your interesting reply. You can pass that Bahamas trip along any day!!

    • Richard Trenner says:

      I’ve entered the not-so-thrilling age of “doctors and diets.” So… I hope your sinuses are working well and feeling well–meaning you don’t feel them at all! But, if not, I’ll just say that I used to have horrendous “chronic sinusitis”—a boring condition if there ever was one. A dozen years ago, a surgeon named Dr. Moses (rhymes with noses) went to work on me. Ever since then I’ve been completely fine—sinus wise, that is!

      By the way, while you and I have never met, I feel it’s a comfort and an inspiration to be part of your blogosphere. Thanks for blogging!

  10. Darrel Huenergardt says:

    I am breathing the air of Williamsburg until tomorrow, and feeling just fine!

  11. eileenrockefeller says:

    Say hello to the daffodils for me!

  12. Darrel Huenergardt says:

    The daffodils were pleased for the greeting, but the tulips were disappointed it did not include them!

  13. Give the tulips an extra kiss for me!!

  14. Hi Eileen,
    I saw your interview with Steve Adubato today and it was so enlightening especially when you spoke about climate change. I had a featured story in the Sierra Club March/April magazine of this year. The name of the article is called “Faces Of Clean Energy: How A Green Job Changed An Ex-Con’s Life”. I’m an individual from New York City who was sentenced under the Rockefeller Drug Law to 62 1/2 years to life for drug trafficking crimes. The most ever handed out for drugs in the history of NY. My close childhood friend was given 50 years to life in the same case. After nearly 14 years of incarceration and countless appeals filed in multiple state and federal courts and reforms in the Rockefeller drug laws. We we’re able to gain our freedom 5 years ago. For 5 years now I’ve been employed by Green City Force currently as a senior team leader. Here at Green City Firce I’m responsible for leading young adults from public housing across the city in National Service improving our environment in projects that is designed to fight climate change. These projects ranges from solar panel installations, weatherization projects, building urban farms in low income areas, converting roof tops to white titanium surfaces, constructing green spaces in crime riddled areas, etc. The list is extensive for the 5 years I’ve been doing this. The most gratifying thing for me is to watch the transformation of these youngsters after they graduate from my program and they lead an environmentally friendly life style, their Brand is more marketable for the career of their choice. We were able to take inner-city youth to change their mind-sets and think of alternative positive pathways to success than the dreaded images they only see and believe in that exist in their poor and crime riddled neighborhoods. After six months we transformed these young lives for college and the competitive job market ranging from D.E.P jobs to interns and full time staff at Bloomberg. I just want to say it would be incredibly an honor if you were able to meet the staff and youngsters we serve. The urban younger generation only know of the Rockefeller contributions to world through music from individual who glamorized the culture I once was part of that was destroying the environment, it’s people in the environment and was destroying the economic structure in our country. Now I’m doing the opposit in these same communities effectively. The youth take to my message and I lead by example. I don’t take this privilege of being free for granted any more. Society saw it fit that the Rockefeller drug laws must change. I believe people from your family felt the same way. I want to say thank you for helping to make that reform a reality. If it wasn’t for that reform I wouldn’t be here today doing what I do for hundreds of youth in the inner city. I wanted to share this with because I want you to know that the efforts by the people to give people like me a second chance at life didn’t go in vain. I’m out here in society as well as my childhood friend who had 50 years ( he was recently hired at DEP). In closing I will read your book because I feel we have the same things in life in common.

    Lawrence D. Harris
    Sr. Team Leader
    Green City Force
    630 Flushing Ave, 8th floor
    Brooklyn NY. 11206
    Email: [email protected]
    Cell: 347-839-8100
    Office# 646-681-4709

    • Eileen,
      I’m honored you responded to my message that came from my heart. I hope one day you can stop by our office at the Pfizer Building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn NY. Your words are really moving. I remember years ago somebody from your family joined forces with the “Mothers against Mandatory minimums” and the “Drop The Rock campaign”. Two organizations I used to read about who was fighting for the lives of people like me. Its so fascinating for me to be in this position where I’m able to express to you about the powerful hope I’m giving to others after others gave me hope after I received a justified and legal draconian sentence. I hope you log on to the Greencityforce.org and see the incredible impact and untold story of our movement with the disenfranchised youth in our great city. Once again I thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.


  15. eileenrockefeller says:

    Dear Lawrence, thank you for your moving story. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m so grateful that you were able to get your term reduced to be able to live a second life, of service. What courage and fortitude it must have taken to start over, and choose something so valuable as a role model for youth. I have deep admiration for you. And by the way, I want to personally apologize for my Uncle’s drug laws, which I had nothing to do with but which I’m sure, if he were living today, he would see he had acted in error. You are right that many in my family were opposed. I’m so glad the laws have been reformed. We should be putting our money into supporting parents, teachers, and mentors like you, instead of pouring more money into the business of prisons. I believe we are all innocent at heart, but we need the support and guidance of adults around us growing up not to get swept up into self-destructive behaviors. More power to you. And blessings, Eileen

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