So why breathe? “Well, I’ve been doing it since I was born and I’m doing OK,” is often the answer I receive when I explain that I’m a breath coach.
You may think that you are an expert at breathing but how often during the day do you stop and pay attention to your breath? We often hold our breath without realising it especially if we are focused on working on the computer or if we receive a shock or feel stressed.
Yet breathing is the most important thing we do: for without breath, there is no life. We can live for only 4 minutes without breathing. And our breath is a great metaphor for how we live our lives. Most of us have some sort of restriction on our breathing. As we go through life, our breath can start to shut down as we accumulate unexpressed emotions and physical restrictions. And so this is reflected in how we live our lives, which become more restricted. We lose our joy and our zest for life. However, when we breathe fully and freely, we feel alive in our bodies, grounded, present and energised. Good things come to us easily and effortlessly.
Transformational Breath® is a way of reversing our restrictive breathing patterns allowing us to increase our respiratory capacity and thus increase our overall health and physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
In this series of articles, I’m going to introduce you to some simple breathing exercises to help you become more aware of how you breathe and how you can change your breath to become more calm, grounded and centred in your body, or more alive and energised when you feel tired.
Awareness of your breathing
Find a place to sit quietly for a few minutes to focus on your breathing. Place one hand on your abdomen and another on your chest. At this point, don’t try and change your breathing in any way, just focus on it. Close your eyes and bring your attention inwards.
How does your body feel today? Is it relaxed or tense?
How does your breath feel today?
Can you feel movement in your belly?
Can you feel movement in your chest? Don’t judge it. Just be aware of your breath.
Does your breath feel shallow or deep?
Is it fast or slow?
Is it easy to breathe or are there any restrictions?
Does it flow easily or does it feel like you’re controlling it and holding on to it?
Sit like this for a few moments just focusing on your breathing and if you feel any areas of tension in your body, try to relax these areas consciously breathing into them. If it feels like you’re holding onto your exhale, practise letting it go with a quick sigh, as if all the tension is leaving your body. Every time you exhale, feel your body relax more and more.
Spend a few more moments with your breath then slowly start to bring your awareness back into the room then open your eyes.
Congratulations. You have been practising a very simple exercise which is the first step in becoming aware of how you breathe. Everyone has their own unique breathing pattern which is a reflection of what’s going on in your life. You are now ready for the next stage of Transformational Breath® which is engaging the diaphragm.
If you would like to learn more about Transformational Breath®, my next introductory workshop at Yoga Healing Glasgow will be on Sunday 8th July at 10 am. You can find more details on the studio’s website here.