“Being aware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space…” ~ Eckhart Tolle
One of the main tools for generating a healthy flow of renewable energy in the bodymind system is through simple breath awareness. No fancy techniques – just the potency of your bare attention. 🙂
Breathing is something we all do thousands of times a day. It’s the only energy resource we have that is literally on tap, FREE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – every day of your life it’s available to you…yet some of us are only taking tiny little sips of air…and then wondering why we feel anxious, wound up and overwhelmed – or, tired, drained, and exhausted.
Psychology of Breath Restriction
Habituated restricted breathing goes hand in hand with a habituated way of operating in the world. As we learn to perceive without manipulation, gradually we build trust in the process of letting things be as they are…” – Donna Farhi
Untying the breath in daily life
The first step in dismantling restrictive breathing patterns is simply training attention to notice.
From there, you will start to enjoy, savor and even crave the simple beauty of life moving through you – breathing and being breathed.
You absolutely do not have to wait for a yoga class to experience this.
As an experiment, notice how often and in what situations you hold your breath.
- Slow down! Decelerate your activities.
- Engage in some menial, rhythmic work, letting your breath slow to match the rhythm of the activity
- Pay attention to how different activities influence your breath, and how your breath influences the way you feel in your body and mind.
- Spend time in fresh air. Indoor air quality is often very poor.
- Practice elongating your exhale and finishing it all the way to the bottom
- Learn to recognize when you are breathing too fast with the red dot technique – put red dot labels in prominent places at work and home. Every time you see a dot, notice if you are breathing too fast. Then focus on increasing your exhalation, breathing slow and low into your abdomen, and allowing your shoulders, chest, upper back, neck and jaws to relax.
- Make sure you are breathing through your nose and not your mouth.
- Allow your breath to move into all sides of the body – left/right, up/down, front/back. Enjoy breathing in 3D!
- If you are in bed and having trouble sleeping, you could try resting your attention in your belly, and counting back from 11 on each exhale, letting the breath release slowly and completely
See Donna Farhi’s wonderful work, “The Breathing Book” for more wisdom and practices you can implement into daily life!