Breathe work is the beginning of becoming aware of your own person and inner experience. Noticing how we are breathing can tell us a lot about how we are doing. Beyond just finding out how we are/ becoming aware of our state, we can then use techniques to shift our state. Why would we want to shift our state you ask? Well, simply put, to feel better! When we are feeling better we can have more clarity, make better decision, enjoy life and even be more productive. If your into that kinda thing.
As I have mentioned in my article of “why is it so hard to give to ourselves”, my 1st suggestion to try is to breathe. More specifically take a few conscious breathes. Beginning to notice how your breathing is. Does it feel easy and relax? Or maybe it feels constricted, possibly shallow. In my experience, if I haven’t been focusing on my breathe for a while or done some kind of activity involving exercise, I am usually completely unaware of how I am breathing. And when I do tune into it, I usually notice it is not as relaxed or deep as I feel would be the most beneficial for providing my body with that rich nourishing oxygen. Most times when I start to bring awareness to my breathe I feel some tightness or blocks in my body that are preventing deeper or relaxed breathing with ease. As uncomfortable as this part of the process may be, it is the start of helping your body get back on track and feeling better. Trust me!
There has been a lot of research done in the power of conscious breathing and the healing that it has on our bodies and minds. Here are a few proven techniques that have been shown to have dramatic results in short periods of practice. By using this methods you will be able to shift your state into a calmer more aware and present state where you will feel more clarity and ease with your day no matter what you are currently going through in your life. So with all that being said let’s get into some of these methods you can use to start feeling better now! Also, these work great in the moment, but if you want to have long lasting life changing results, I highly recommend using a few of these techniques, or all of them as often as you can, every day, or even better at intervals throughout your day.
Watch your breathe. If you are to do one thing to help yourself get connected with your current state and get a sense of how your feeling/doing, this is really all you need and you really don't need to go any further in this article. Just practice this step regularly and you won't believe how far it will take you. That being said, I still encourage you to read the rest of this article because in combination with this step you will be able to access more ability to shape your experience and how you want to be while mastering other methods of breathing meditations.
So for this method, as is stated, just watch your breathe. There is no tricks here, nothing to “work at”. It is really easy and it just takes you to a place where no you are not trying to multitask or worry about getting anything else done. It is usually helpful to close your eyes while practicing this step and that is to just limit the distractions coming in while you just simply watch you breathe come in and go out, without you trying to make it anyway. It is also helpful to be in a quieter environment if at all possible and this also helps limit distractions and you may actually find yourself listening to the air flow as well, which I have found to be helpful but not necessary. You may find it comfortable to just breathe through your nose to do this, but if you are finding it hard to stay focus with this you can also practice breathing in through your nose, allowing you breathe to come from as low as it want to and exhale through your mouth, letting go of any tension you may notice in your body from your inhaling breathe. My last tip for this is to set a goal of how much time you are going to practice this activity for. I feel like setting aside 10 minutes a day can be a great way to get started making this a routine and you can break the 10 minutes up into lots of little breaks throughout the day with a minute here or there. The great thing about doing it this way is that even if you don’t feel like you have a full minute, you will always have moment or two in between activities and this is a great practice to check in with yourself and to keep centered and grounded throughout the day. Like I mention this is a simple technique and the power comes from constantly reminding yourself to check in throughout the day, or specified times where you allow yourself to do this activity and over the course of a few weeks you will find yourself doing it without even thinking about it because it is so helpful for everything else you are doing in the day.
So by now after having practiced watching your breath for even just a short while I am sure you are noticing a few new things pop up like, how your breathing is, how your body feel. Maybe you are noticing some parts of your body feel warm or cold, or maybe they are parts that are comfortable and pleasant or you could be noticing some pain and places that are experiencing some discomfort. This next technique address how to better move through what you are feeling allowing you to go through a transformation process that will leave you feeling reset and refresh. This is achieved through focus, intention and letting go of judgement and anything else that isn’t serving you. Make sure you have set aside some time, I would recommend at least 10 minutes or more when you are starting practicing this technique so you can really ingrain the steps and get a good sense of the feeling of moving through the steps. If you give yourself this time at the start you will be able to master this technique quickly and then use it anytime you need and it will take you much less time then when you first started learning it.
So to start this I would strongly recommend finding somewhere private that you know you will not be disturbed. You really want to be able to allow yourself to be vulnerable about this one because it’s all about visualization and feeling and your mind will do almost anything to pull you out of this state if you do not feel 100% during the process. Once you have your environment sorted and you are in a comfortable position with your eyes close you can beginning breathing. Start with a couple deep breaths to relax yourself, maybe you were having a stressful day and you can start letting that go now because it’s time for you to become still and present with yourself. Once you have taken a few breathe on your own now with your eye close visualize a white light coming in to your body with your next inhale through your nose. Feel the breathe entering slowly and steadily and really focus your mind on imagining what this while light looks like as it enters your body and brings light in. Now on the exhale open your mouth and let the air “fall out” of your mouth. If you are doing this correctly, from the inhale being long and slow you should be able to just let go of this breath with virtually no effort. With this exhale you will be letting go of any tension you feel in your body or any thing else you are feeling as you go through this process. That is why the name of this exercise is cleansing breathe, because with each breathe in you are drawing in the white light cleansing energy and with the exhale you are letting go of any disharmony that is stuck in your body. With the time you a lot of yourself you can practice this by visualizing with each breath you take going to different body parts starting at your toes working you way up to your legs through your torso arms neck and head. If you have more time you can do this process a couple times over and see if you missed any parts as you go through. One last point to make is this is a cumulative process. What ever you feel in your body most likely did not come up overnight, so don't expect to change it with just doing this method one time. This is best made into a daily practice an even though you may feel a great difference from just doing this for 10 minutes one day, you will notice even more profound benefits and feel better when you stay consistent and practice this over many weeks.
Full body breathing
What do I mean by full body breathing? Well I mean just that, using your whole body to breath. Mainly training your extra-respiratory muscles to start working, or working more effectively again as well as train the ones that have been overcompensating to turn off, take a break and let go.
It is so common that most people are shallow breathers. They use their chest muscles to expand and contract their lungs. And actually not even all of their chest muscles but their upper chest and neck muscles. This is often the place that a lot of people feel tension when they first start bringing awareness to their breath. This is not natural, it might be normal and common but it is not how the body is designed to work and is a result of many years of constricted posture. For examples of what the body is supposed to look like when its breathing just look at a baby, especially when they laugh. They use their whole being because its is all connected and nothing has been shut down by years of repetition from work or guarded traumas ect. For more about storing trauma and holding unhealthy postures see article (......). So a few easy tricks to get back on track with full body breathing go as such.
Grab yourself some heavy flat things flat weights or text books whatever you got. Lay down and start with placing them on your chest area. Now with these on your body just practice breathing a slow controlled pace. You will notice where you are holding tension and if you feel a lot in your chest the weight on top will exaggerate this feeling. The purpose here is to allow yourself to see how much tension there is in this spot and to start to let go of it with each breath. You can do this by doing a number of breaths into your chest and feel the tension letting go on each exhale. Once you have spent some time and you feel that this part has now relaxed and you have effectively turned off this muscle group from its constant duty of soling bringing air into your lung you can now start training the muscles in your belly that are designed to more effectively and efficiently drawn air in. To do this place this books or weights you have on top of your belly and focus on drawing air into your belly area. You will know this is working if you can get the books moving up and down. Practice this as much as you need, maybe start small and keep working your way up to longer times and more weight. You will notice after you do this for a few weeks your posture will change and when you tuned into your breath more often you will find yourself breathing deeps and more relaxed!
In conclusion our breath is the single most important thing we can tune into to help use not only understand how we are feeling but then shift how we feel by simply giving ourselves the space to breathe with a little more ease. These techniques are powerful and will help your body re-calibrate itself by allowing the mind and body to reset itself. There are things our body does that are beyond our understanding but we do know that most of the time when we get out of our way we allow the body to do its job much easier and will help us thrive in the short term and the long run. Give yourself this gift of connecting with your breath, and if it to yourself often. And if you feel this article has moved you in any way or you feel like you have gotten some use out of it why not share it with someone you care about that could also benefit from giving themselves that opportunity to disconnect from all the stress in their life for a few moments, breath and feel more centered and better to take on the tasks of the world.