When you really pay attention to your breath, it’s astonishing how much you notice. As I follow the sensation of cool air flowing into my nose, I feel a gentle expansion, a widening through my nasal cavity, back into my skull, and down my throat. My collarbones rise and spread; my ribs separate and widen like a bellows.
Exhaling, my diaphragm contracts into the cave of my abdomen, my spine curling ever so slightly around it. All the while, my body feels as if it’s sinking into the floor. My mind follows the gravitational pull, its perpetual whirl slowed to a pleasant hum.
This single breath cycle takes less than 20 seconds, but an hour could easily have passed. It occurs to me that it’s like that movie Interstellar—as if I’ve left the normal time–space continuum and awakened to a whole new world of sensation inside, as I lie here, covered in blankets, a weighted pillow across my hips, drinking in this wildly restorative substance called air.
I’m not normally so observant of my breath. But I’m following Jillian Pransky’s voice, a bit raspy, slow and clear and incredibly relaxing. She’s guiding me through her signature Deep Listening practice, which,…