We breathe in so many ways all day and night long, yet, most of the time we are not aware that our life depends on this automatic function. In the same way that we are not necessarily aware of our organs functioning for us all day and replenishing all night.
We may not have the natural tools other than diet and the not so natural tablets to stop an indigestion, or a headache, from developing because when we discover it, it is already too late to act, but we may be able to control our breath to avoid certain conditions that take over our lives when we anticipate them or when they happen, such as stress, anxiety, sleep problems. We may also be able to control our breath to achieve better sports results or to help the body recuperate after physical exercise. In some specific circumstances, such as medical procedures breath might help relieve pain.
Becoming aware of our breath is a first step to welcoming our life as it is, in the moment, being in touch again with the essential “me”, anchoring our body into the space where it is living, being grateful to our body.
Exercise 1: Breath awareness. One hand on your stomach, the other on your chest, you become aware of your natural breath, as it is, without changing it, listening to it and observing its pattern. Doing this for a couple of minutes, several times a day will make you reconnect with yourself.
To relax and wind down, when we are exhausted but the mind is racing, or trying to sleep, practicing the calming breath will be one of the best options for most of us, it is a good idea to add this technique to other precautions we take for general relaxation.
Exercise 2: Calming breath. After exercise 1, count to 4 (or other number to suit you) on your inbreath, then the same on your outbreath, for a minute or so. Then keeping the same count “in”, you extend the count “out” by an extra count of 2 (or other number that suits you). You may use your nose only or breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. You may keep your hands position as in exercise 1. Practice for a minute or so, several times a day if possible, and pause at the end to notice how you are feeling.
Most of the Sophrology exercises are based on breathing at some level or other, and will have the desired effectquickly, It is not all just about relaxing though: bringing more oxygen to the blood by deeper breathing will help regulating our other functions. Therefore, through regular training for breath awareness and calming breath among other types of techniques, we will introduce our whole bodies to a healthy,desirable state of liveliness. They deserve our respect.