For centuries the mountains have been a source of inspiration for strength, stability, and beauty. People from all over the globe venture from far off lands in order to trek these majestic ranges in search of a stronger connection to anything, from history to spirituality to self-discovery.
On my recent trip to the French Alps, I immediately rediscovered my breath, a precious tool neglected after a very busy work week, a demanding personal life, and an intense house move on the snowiest day that London had seen in years. For nearly a week, this meditation teacher had lost her breath.
From the moment I stepped foot into the extra cold alpine air, I was confronted by a cloud. Not your average cumulus formation, but rather a warm personal puff of air, made by me, for me. In London, it's not often that one sees their breath materialise in front of them. This was an awakening that I was not in the city anymore. And a reminder that my breath was ever-present, even when abroad.
Later on, I noticed that my body was working harder, continually seeking more oxygen. My lungs pumping as I climbed steep hills. Whether skiing, snowshoeing or simply walking uphill, exherting myself in this altitude reintroduced me to my body's natural breathing system.
The result: my breathing passages opened up, along with my present state of awareness. I began to notice my surroundings more poignantly than before – the feeling of sun on my face, the shape of falling snowflakes, the smell of a wood burning fire and fresh French food cooking in the air. My awareness of my breath and current status peaked. (Pun intended!)
The allure of the mountain air is not to be ignored, as it is as restorative as a spa session or yoga class. In our normal daily lives, we often forget that we breathe. Whether we're running from appointment to appointment or sitting still on the couch watching TV we often forget that we have this amazing restorative tool within our bodies that connects us to the present moment.
If you are searching to resuscitate your breath, I highly recommend a trip to the slopey side of life. If you can't make it to any actual mountain ranges, or even Primrose Hill, then just close your eyes and visualise your perfect summit. Imagine yourself inhaling and exhaling as you mentally climb on, and in no time you'll be completely revived.