Breathe. What did you think I was gonna say?
“Breathe. Cool. Yeah. Got it. Um… How?”
If I just read your mind, if a deep, steady, calming breath is a mystery to you, please know you’re not alone. Like self-empathy and emotional regulation, breathing well will revolutionize your life and personal power but so few of us are ever taught how.
It’s assumed we know how to breathe. Truth is, it’s easy to forget. Our bodies close around trauma and grief and poor posture and all of a sudden we’re straining to breathe with our neck and chest instead of letting our powerful diaphragm do its job.
Why bench our Most Valuable Player? Don’t we want to win?? And did you know your heart rests on your diaphragm???
Allow your diaphragm to move through its full range of motion and you not only free up your ribcage and spine, thus increasing your breath capacity, relieving back pain, and improving digestion…Take that, Sad-Office/Couch/2020-Body!…
Allow your diaphragm to move through its full range of motion and you gently (rhythmically, primally) stretch your pericardium, the membrane surrounding your heart.
Make more room for your heart.
Anxious breathing begets anxiety. Calm breathing begets calm.
Practicing breathing in this way has transformed my mindset, life, and emotional wellbeing.
Let’s practice. And then I’ll tell you a secret.
Nice work. Ok. Secret time…
If “deep breath” is a frustrating mystery to you, I’m only so confident that “you’re not alone” because I “forgot how to breathe,” too. It’s true. There’s this misunderstanding that yoga teachers are unimpeachably “Zen AF,” when the reality is that most of us “found” yoga as a path to healing our own physical and emotional tension.
I feel like I’ve been anxious breathing as early as infancy… or maybe it dates back to that shellfish I choked on over three decades ago.
In fact, and not for lack of trying, I couldn’t figure out how to “belly breathe” until I read My Grandmother’s Hands… THIS YEAR. Side note: If you have any room at all on your plate, please read Resmaa Menakem’s transformative book on generational and racial trauma and healing.
Anyway, I mention that to 1. let you know that his brilliant work informed the above description, and 2. remind you that you are not alone. And that there’s hope. Loads of it.