So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit . . .
Our breath is our constant companion, it is the one thing that midwives and doctors worry the most when we are born, the sound of that cry which signals that we are finally breathing, therefore Alive!. There is an abundance of literature and techniques from different traditions which give wonderful ways of working with our breath. For the purpose of this short blog, I just would like to bring awareness, to make you feel your breath while you are reading, to help you connect and reconnect to yourself. I thought of breathing as an essential tool for any medicine work just as presence, just as intention, but reflecting on the nature of breath, which flows inwards and outwards, as a perfect metaphor between connecting the six points mentioned previously (please read my previous blog here: https://www.elespiraltherapy.com/post/the-gentle-path-on-intimacy-an-introduction) and the pointers which we will be exploring through these blogs. Everything that I will be talking about here is connected to the breath.
First and foremost, I would like to ask any reader and companion here is that if there is anything in these words and the ones coming through the blogs that emotionally moves you or intellectually stimulates you, or spiritually inspires you: please take a deep slow conscious breath. Breath is not just our connection with life, but it is also the connection with ourselves. I would like to invite you to connect to it, to be curious about it. Listen and feel its movement, its flows. Our way of breathing changes through the day depending on our movement and emotional states. Our breathing carries within it so much communication, both within and outside of ourselves, and through deeply connecting, feeling and listening one is able to learn much from it about our inner structures and the way the outside world has an impact on us.
Stress, anxiety, distress and overwhelm
Our breathing is the first thing that gets affected when experiencing challenging emotions. The interesting thing is that it only requires for us to be conscious of it for us to bring it back into balance. Our breathing is a regulator. In order to counter interact with the flow that the challenging emotions give, take a deep slow abdominal breath, sometimes it helps to exhale slowly through the mouth. Abdominal breath helps us to root down when being bombarded by thoughts, all our attention goes to the head space, therefore, breathing creates a counter intuitive movement that regulates our body and emotions, bringing our attention to lower areas of our body. You can also place your hands in the heart, not just for balancing down both spaces, but also to soothe any emotions rising. It also helps to place one hand in the heart and one in the womb for women.
Stress, anxiety, distress and overwhelm all talk about our relationship with control. Something feels out of our hands, something feels scarce and yet our breathing brings abundance to our bodies.
A technique useful when experiencing anxiety is the 4-7-8 breathing which literally means to inhale 4, keep the breath in for 7 and exhale for 8 through the mouth. This is done while keeping the tip of the tongue at the root of the front teeth. Therefore when you exhale, you will make a sound of “thooothh”.
Intimacy and breathing
Breathing helps us to reconnect to Self. Breathing is the intimate space held between the Soul and your Self. Breathing is a relationship. Breathing brings you back to your body, it gives you an opportunity to feel again. More we establish intimacy with our own Selves, the more we bring awareness, the more awareness travels to all areas of the Self and that can feel sometimes overwhelming as there is much about ourselves that we prefer to hide away and not relate with. Conscious breathing then helps us to reconnect and listen to all of those exiled parts of ourselves and integrate them. In the journey through, breathing also regulates the whole process. That is how abundantly generous our breathing is, just like a sacred temple that we carry within our lungs. The thought of it humbles me, and therefore I deeply breathe at the recognition of this.
I would like to encourage any of you to explore breathing techniques. Many of them are wonderful. Yoga and Qigong have very good breathing techniques to offer. The Wim Hof method is a simple and lovely technique too which can be a great preparation for meditation and visualisation. I also recommend conscious breath-work. If you live within the UK, I recommend Ayesha Powell’s Breath Alchemy (firstname.lastname@example.org; 07536182045)