If you want to understand something about your breathing try this simple experiment – say ‘Happy Birthday’ out loud. Give it a go right now.
Did you feel the need to take a breath before you started speaking? If you did, try saying ‘Happy Birthday’ without taking a breath and notice how that feels. It will be possible for most people even if it feels odd.
Once you have noticed what you do you can also start to notice what others do too. TV presenters are good to listen to and voice mails.
Taking a Breath Before Speaking is Common and often unnecessary
You will no doubt discover that taking a breath before beginning to speak is common. And then you might wonder why it matters. Mostly this is just a habit. Often that habit is the result of feeling a need to ‘do’ something to make sure we have enough air in our lungs. And there lies part, if not all, of the problem. What it boils down to is a lack of trust in our bodies to function without interference from us. When I work with my clients on breathing this is what I am aiming for:
- Releasing tension and holding in the whole body so that all of the parts involved in breathing can move freely
- Uncovering beliefs about what my clients think they need to ‘do’ to breathe.
- Experimenting with doing less
- ‘Easy’ breaths rather than ‘big’ breaths
- Focussing on the out breath because then the in breath will come all on its own
Experience Easy Breathing
Here is something you can try that will give you an experience of easy breathing:
- Sit quietly making sure you are aware of your whole self as well as the room around you
- Start by just noticing how you breathe without changing anything
- After a short while, at the end of an out-breath, just wait for your next in-breath. Key points are:
- Avoid holding your breath
- Avoid actively taking a breath
- Just wait for the breath to come in naturally
This simple experiment repeated over time will help stop you interfering with the way your body is naturally designed to breathe.
Using Breathing to Help Find a Sense of Calm
I find this one of the most effective things to do if I am feeling anxious, irritated or inpatient. I pay attention to my in-breath, my out-breath then I pause and wait for my next in-breath. Doing this ten times (I am often surreptitiously touching my fingers and thumbs to count) always helps me feel calmer.
‘Stop doing the wrong thing, and the right thing will do itself.’
I love the above quote from FM Alexander, Founder of the Alexander Technique; it’s the basis for all I teach about breathing
If this post has sparked your curiosity and you are interested in finding out how the Alexander Technique can help you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07957 981240 get in touch using the contact icons
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