No matter where we are or what we are doing, we always have our breath with us. It is the one tool that does not need to be carried around, charged in order to work, or remembered when leaving home! We do need to be reminded to connect to this gift.
We can use our breath to recenter, reconnect, calm our being, and aid our healing. Breathwork allows us to enhance our physical, mental and emotional state, no matter the circumstance.
All it takes is finding a quiet space – it can be the restroom, your car, or sitting in your garden, or out in nature. Closing your eyes allows you to shut out all the white noise and really connect within. It gives you the space to check in with how you are really feeling, and become aware of the thoughts you are thinking. The key is to be in a space that allows you to feel safe enough to close your eyes, and not feel the need to be constantly aware of the goings-on around you.
Most of us don’t realize how little we notice our breathing or how we tend to breathe in a shallow way. Check in with yourself right now and notice how you are breathing. Are you naturally breathing deep, full breaths? Or do you find yourself taking short, shallow breaths?
Using breathwork for healing:
Calm your nervous system: Deep breathing is a quick and effective method for calming the nervous system. When you are feeling stressed, or in a high adrenaline state, you can use deep breathing to slow yourself down. Close your eyes and concentrate on your inhale. Slowly breathe in, taking as deep a breath as you are able to. Then just as slowly, exhale. Begin with a count of 4 for each inhale and exhale. As you get more comfortable, you will find yourself increasing this to eight or ten seconds. Breathing deeply for a few minutes is a physical reset as well as an emotional pause. You will notice yourself feeling calmer and more relaxed. Do this for as long as you are able to.
Meditation: This is a wonderful tool for calming the mind and body. If you struggle to find a quiet meditative state, focusing on your breathing can slow your mind and take you into this space gently, with some practice. Close your eyes and allow your body to relax. Focus on your body. Listen to your breathing, noticing each inhale and each exhale. Feel your lungs expanding and contracting. Keeping your focus exclusively on your breath allows you to shut all other thoughts out. This helps to quiet your mind.
Pausing in conflict: When you are in a difficult conversation, using your breath can provide the quiet pause you need while you collect your thoughts. Close your eyes for a moment, shutting out the environment, and take a few deep breaths to recenter. If you cannot close your eyes, turn your awareness inward and notice your diaphragm expanding and contracting. Taking your focus off the situation and turning your attention to your body, allows you to recenter.
Relief: When you are feeling as though things are out of your control, or you feel yourself spiraling, use your breath to reset your state of being. Focus on your breath and slowly deepen each inhale and exhale, until you are breathing as deeply as you can.
It takes practice and conscious awareness of your breath to remember to access this gift from your body. Test it out this week – notice how you feel when you are consciously using your breath.
Share in the comment and let me know your experience.