Haiku: one breath poetry

Haiku is sometimes called “one breath poetry” which means that it can be recited between the in-breath and the out-breath. That is just how short of a poem it really is. Notice how effortless it is to breathe. It’s the one thing that we can’t live without. It’s the first thing we do when we’re born and the last thing we do before we pass away. My breathing used to be shallow which contributed to some of the anxiety and stress that I was suffering from. By practicing and becoming more mindful of my breath I noticed how it was a good technique to relief some of the stress I was having. When I learned how haiku connects to the breath it made sense as to how haiku can have a healing effect as well as all the other amazing benefits.

During this holiday season the breath can be even more important to be aware of and mindful of. It’s a great way to de-stress, especially during a time when most of us are overbooked, overwhelmed and overloaded with too much going on. Slow down and enjoy the holidays more with some of these breathing techniques.

  • Are you holding your breath? Is your breathing shallow?

Becoming mindful of your breath can help you to be in the moment. Your breath is a simple and powerful way to anchor yourself to be present. Whenever you are having a hard time staying present, take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. You could even count your breath as counting it is helpful. Start with a count of four. Inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of four a few times and see if it makes a difference. When I do this it helps to clear my head and get more grounded.

Taking slow deep breaths is an amazing technique that is good for the soul to bring you back to yourself in a positive way that involves focus. It takes discipline to be mindful, but the rewards lead to peace and happiness. Sometimes it’s the quality of the breath that matters. Start to notice and pay attention to when you may be holding your breath. Take big huge belly breaths to lower stress and anxiety levels.

  • Since breathing is second nature, do you even notice your breath?

Yoga is an excellent exercise that focuses on breathing. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you will notice how the emphasis is on the breath and not so much the poses. The poses are important but the breath is what keeps you in the moment and present. Can you see how haiku and the breath are so closely linked? They are both ways to keep you mindful, present and aware that can lead to enlightenment and freedom.

There are a few different breathing techniques to lower anxiety. One of them is that is a beginner level is called Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing” that is sometimes used at the beginning of a yoga class.

How it’s done: Balance is good for the mind and body. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four — all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. More advanced yogis can aim for six to eight counts per breath with the same goal in mind: calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.

When it works best: This technique is especially effective before bed, but can be practiced at anytime. Similar to counting sheep, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, this breath can help take your mind off the racing thoughts, or whatever might be preventing you from drifting off to sleep.

Learning about haiku poetry and writing has helped me to be more present in my life and aware of my breath. Living in a haiku way can provide health and mental health benefits that can change your life on many different levels. It feeds my soul and opens my heart in a way that I have benefited from profoundly. Are you looking for the same? Discovering a creative outlet that is healing and unique can offer insights into your life. Haiku is poetry, it is also a way of life. I love the way that the philosophy of the haiku way of life meshes the present, the beauty and the creativity in nature that surrounds us. It provides a simple approach to our everyday experiences that can create a safe space of calm and tranquility,  a place to reflect, to feel,  to drink in the essence of life. Have you had such experiences? Would you care to share in the comments section below how your  inner self communicates with the outer world through haiku?


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