Using the Breath to Calm the Body and Spirit

Do you ever feel yourself taking a deep breath in as if you are bracing yourself for a shock?

     We are told how healthy it is to breath and connect with our breath, and yet sometimes we use that very breathe in a way that tenses our body rather than releases the tension we hold in our bodies.

     The fact is, it’s easy to tense our bodies when we breath in rather than relax and elongate our muscles and fascia (the web of connective tissue that wrap around the internal parts of the body).

     Here’s an example: As my yoga clients were moving through Warrior Poses, I was cueing them to inhale as they lifted their arms and exhale as they settled into the poses. However, what we noticed was that their inhale was more a breath of tension than a breath of renewal, relaxation and elongation. So we practiced the same poses but this time relaxing and elongating the muscles as we inhaled.

     This type of tense inhale can also occur when we are listening to a friend talk about a painful experience or listening to the news. We often breath in and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry”; or “Oh, that is terrible.” And then we continue talking almost while we are holding that same breath.

     So part of our practice is to be conscious of our inhales and exhales to allow both of them to relax our body and spirits. Then, if you do find yourself tensing your body as you inhale and hardly exhaling at all, pause for a moment and allow yourself to quietly and fully inhale and then exhale again.

     In other words, whether you are exercising or talking or listening, become more conscious of how you use your breath to relax your body, mind and spirit.

Feel free to email me your thoughts or experience with this practices:

[email protected].

If you interested in more information on breath awareness and relaxation or using the breath to decrease anxiety, check out the articles below.