Do you like the title of this week’s blog? I hope it caught your attention. Here’s why: when we begin focus on our breathing and changing how we breath – it can feel weird.
In Yoga and meditation practice one of the key components is breathing; bringing awareness to the breath, deepening the breath and shifting our breathing patterns over time. However, when we begin it feels awkward and even wrong somehow. We might even feel as though we are interfering with our breath and it’s natural flow.
And that is totally normal! Since the moment of birth we have been breathing, seemingly without effort. We can however, get into patterns that don’t add value to our wellness. For example, stress and anxiety can make the breathing patterns shallow and short. We ideally want the breath long and deep as often as we can. When we breathe in a shallow way the body can think it is in danger – this is the breathing pattern when we are in the flight or flight response. This creates undue stress on our entire nervous system.
As soon as we pay attention to the breath it can feel as though the breath is blocked, unnatural or restricted. I remember when I first started to learn to breathe differently – I felt like I couldn’t do it. I had to lie down to bring the breath more deeply into my body. That can be a good place to start for us; lying down and letting the belly rise as we inhale and lower as we exhale. Place a hand on your belly and one over your heart and notice which hand moves first. Then you can begin to shift the breath over time. Awareness of how we are actually breathing is the first step.
Here’s the thing – there is no ‘right’ breath. You have heard me say in yoga and meditation classes: ‘we meet ourselves where we are’. The point is this – that we are now aware and being more mindful.
And learn to trust your body – it knows what it needs. Let go of what you think it ‘should’ be like and relax and allow the flow of your breath to shift over time. When you feel the calm and peace it brings to your emotions and thoughts, and how your body relaxes; the old patterns will shift – over time. Be patient and stay aware.
If you need guidance in this area please feel free to reach out and we can work together!
One of my Yoga teachers used to say: “Deep breath, deep life.” It’s true.