Keeping the mind and body relaxed relies on us taking time to let the breath return to its natural state regularly. Aside from the regular benefits of our practice, this activity alone ensures that at least once in our day, we change pace to shift out of the fast pace of modern living. The pace and scales of modern life are mind boggling and without slowing down to take stock, we risk this flurry of activity, conflicting commitment and desire overcoming us and prepping us to defend ourselves.
This mornings practice brought my awareness to the need to prepare and settle into the practice by maintaining few minutes of conscious breathing letting the thoughts of the day settle down. What I became aware of this morning was how the mind and the body interact with one another to cause this settling and the way in which the breath guides or is guided by this process.
As you unhook from a thought or agenda item that has been fraying you for most of the day you can feel the tightness of your muscles release. Similarly as the breath gets deeper and longer the body too responds by sinking gently into the ground and dropping the defensive stance that comes about if our day is left to its own device without consciousness.
I like how this writer has put it at the end of this article on the subject of preparing to practice.