In individual lessons and workshops I remember mantra-like "...and make sure that your breathing flows on." This usually results in reactions like "Yes, I always forget that" to "I have already heard that I don´t breathe right" or I see a non-verbal expression of discomfort.
One thing I know for sure: if there is any form of shock, not only muscles contract involuntarily, but also breathing becomes flat or stops completely.
Whether this discomfort has something to do with someone unconsciously feeling reminded of their fear and fright reflexes is a guess. Another is: could the breathlessness/insecurity have something to do with the fact that life in Western cultures is more nonphysical, that we often live dissociated from the body?
Why is it useful to breathe consciously, to train breath and to experience it?
1. toxic substances leave the body when we exhale.
2. Only when you exhale deeply, new oxygen, new energy can enter the body.
3 This oxygen is essential for the brain, heart and blood. If there is a shortage of oxygen, these organs function less and we become ill.
4. with conscious breathing you can recharge body spaces with energy and free them from blockages.
When does conscious breathing make sense?
1. during strenuous exercise such as training, but also when you have to reach the bus quickly. Exhale at the same time. This relieves the strain and makes you aware in time if something is too strenuous at the moment.
2. in every conversation, every counselling, in which you are entrusted with something that was or is burdensome, your conscious breathing is worth in gold for both of them. Why:
The one who speaks will probably also breathe then. Usually he feels heard and perceived.
For you as a listener, it causes, among other things, that the content is less "fixed". It is a means when you tend to take over or suffer with emotions, energies, stories.
Of course you can also address it: let's take 1 -2 minutes to breathe together.
3. if you are angry, triggered or very insecure. Strong emotions that indicate unfulfilled needs - what we often prefer to avoid. How do you react? Emotionally? Do you swallow and "forget" it?
Make it a habit to take 2 - 3 deep breaths before a reaction. Observe what happens and how you react afterwards. And you gain time in which you can think about when you can really listen to your emotions in peace.
In addition to this deliberate, conscious breath, breathing also has a side controlled by the subconscious, which is regulates survival: as mentioned in the beginning, when you are frightened and the air stays away or when you get used to shallow breathing with prolonged fear. If the anxiety persists, the body reduces the breathing volume.
Everyone who knows and practices TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) experiences that suddenly there is a deep spontaneous breath. This seems to be the case when the reflex that releases tension and adhesions has worked its way through something. Deep abdominal breathing emerges. It looks and feels like relief.
Both, the deliberate directed and the unconscious breath, expand awareness and perception.
This is a gift of breathing that we have already received as such.
My recommendation: try one of the described examples for one week daily:
- With effort to breathe consciously at the same time.
- In case of anger, postpone your reaction to later and first breathe 2 - 3 moves deeply - and then react.
- When listening, breathe consciously, tending to prolong exhalation. For you and the other.
- During your TRE practice pay attention to moments of unplanned breathing.