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Mindful : June 2019
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 fol- lows 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 sub- stance 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 incred- ibly relaxing. She’s g uiding me through her signature Deep Listening practice, which, in this moment, I could honestly describe as liquefying. As in, it feels like my muscles have separated from my bones and both are suspended in some viscous substance, my mind contentedly floating alongside. “Let your breath arrive in your body,” Pransky says, and if I could, I would nod in assent: I think it’s here. But I really don’t think I can move. And then a tiny thought bubble rises up from the deep: Thank good- ness I don’t have to drive right away. I’ve come to meet Pransky to experience her body-based relaxation system that blends yoga, mindfulness, and somatic awareness into a delicious PHOTOGRAPHCOURTESYOFJILLIANPRANSKY 56 mindful June 2019 well-being