“When did you start holding your breath?”
I hadn’t noticed that I wasn’t breathing but, as it turned out, I wasn’t. Luckily, my therapist noticed and started riding my rear about it. That was the first time the issue even appeared on my radar. Not much came of it, outside of her office at least, but I was alerted to my tendency to restrict my breath while frustrated or sad or nervous. You know… the things one might feel in a therapist’s office.
In my last post, I spilled the beans about my roundness, vanity, and holding my breath. I promised to share some of the pieces of the Breathe puzzle which expanded my awareness and supported my healing around this habit. I realize now that an inclusive list would be more book chapter than blog post. So, I’m going to break it up into two posts and share the pieces that have come through my newish Kundalini Yoga practice in a separate post next time.
Notice Your Breath – It was my dear friend and early life coach who finally went beyond the nagging reminder to breathe and asked me when I stopped breathing fully. I reflected for a moment before whispering the surprising answer that was pounding about in my brain, “I’m not sure I ever did!” Even though I’d been asked about it before, I honestly hadn’t stopped to notice my breathing patterns, how often I held my breath, and the simple decision to notice myself in this way was incredibly insightful. Breathing dysfunction discovered! Sound the alarms!
Breathe Into A Book – That same woman helped me notice that my breaths were incredibly shallow. When I inhaled, there was only a subtle movement at the top and center of my chest. She encouraged me to breathe into my diaphragm… and I didn’t know how. She invited me to lie on the floor with a book on my belly, just between my breasts and belly button. She told me to breathe deeply enough to move the book. Diaphragm located!