We take breathing for granted unless you have a breathing condition, then every breath is watched carefully.
If I was going to do some strenuous activity I would get my breathing ready for it.
Funnily enough I can now take my breathing for granted because I’ve relearnt to trust my breathing and I know it won’t let me down.
Trust is the key!
This took me a long time from watching my every breath to allowing my breath to happen all on its own.
I didn’t do this on my own, I got help from several people – all Alexander Technique Teachers, now I’m an Alexander Technique teacher so I can now help you as well.
The secret of relearning anything is to notice what you have learnt to do it another way. In the case of breathing, I had many beliefs that were different to how my body actually works.
1 – Body mapping
This is relearning where your body parts are really are they are and not where you think they are.
2 – Understanding that you are probably wrong about some things
Again this is relearning but I found this difficult to grasp because it worked but it is wrong. I knew how my diaphragm moved but I was wrong, I was thinking the wrong way round.
3 – Being non-judgmental
Especially for point 2 Understanding that you are probably wrong about somethings, I just got plain angry and very judgmental – being judgmental you are just stuck, simple because you aren’t listening to sense. This took me a while to grasp, there are no half measures, you have the choice of being judgemental or non-judgmental – there’s nothing in the middle.
4 – Noticing things
Noticing muscular tension, what muscular activity do you notice when you become judgmental, is it
- shoulders flinch
- tightening of your jaw
- a frown
- you scratch your favourite scratch
There are plenty more.
What’s yours, when you think about breathing?
5 – Doing something different
If you are getting anxious about your breath perhaps breath out a little before you breath in. Your lungs are probably full of air already and the air many be a little stale, I found when I was anxious I just wanted to cram in as much air as possible so I was ready for that moment that never came. So a breathe out before a breathe in then you will get some fresh air.
6 – Breathe in through your nose
There’s lots of benefits,
- You warm the air before it gets to your lungs
- You filter the air
- You smell the air for odours, these could be dangers or good things
- I get a sense of calming when I breath in though my nose, do you?
7 – Take your time
Take your time to change anything, if you force a change then there will be some judgment somewhere and this judgment will trip you up.
8 – Practice, Practice, Practice
There’s no such thing as practice, life is real, so treat every moment as a real moment.
9 – Seek help
Seek help to get you on your journey to natural breathing.