In the healing realms breath comes up in relation to meditation and relaxation. Mostly, I do think breath work is good for relaxation, but for some the breath is a trigger. I'm seeing this in some family members that I do healing work with, as well as a few clients... and I'm also thinking back to my own days in the throes of asthma.
So, what's up with breathing bringing up stress and tension?
The breath is the manifestation of our life force energy... simple... without it we die. It is the tangible expression of our lives. With asthma allergies, a habit of shallow breathing... or, really, any tension around the breath, our tendency is to energetically move away from our breath. Instead we turn our attention somewhere else that is more comfortable. This habit of moving away from difficult breath out of fear results in a connection between our own breath and a stress response in the body.
So what happens when we connect our breath with stress and danger? It means we will habitually minimize the breath in order to stay away from fear. That's why breath work can ping people. It can bump us into our own avoidance mechanisms... our deep fears... and it can make us feel panicky.
Solution? Awareness. We can release this erroneous (and paradoxical!) association between the breath and danger. How? Try this...
Direct your awareness to your breathing. I do not mean that I want you to sit and think about your breath. I do mean that I want you to sense your breath. This is different than thinking. Sensing happens from the inside. Sensing is noticing the stretching of muscles, the opening of the ribs, the release of the muscles on the exhale.
NOTE: Awareness, or sensing, is passive. It’s just noticing what happens, without judging it, without changing it, allowing it to just be. Awareness sets the stage for a different kind of relationship, one in which you are both sensing AND listening to the response the body gives. When you are breathing easily, notice the tiny sensations of the expansion of the chest cavity. Allow your breath to be deep just to the point that you begin to sense stretching or tension. Don't go into the tension... but right up to it. Where that is may change with each breath. Just notice.
The premise here is that you're building a new kind of relationship with your body. You are shifting from having expectations of the body to perform as a machine to a true relationship that is based in awareness. You are noticing your body, and it is able to let you know what it needs. This is Body Wisdom.
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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