The Breath

breathIn the past I have felt like there have been so many blog posts written about ‘the breath‘ that there couldn’t possibly be any more to say! However, I was wrong! I have been playing a lot with the breath in the past couple of weeks and I have some breakthrough news! There is always more to learn!

In the movement world it is common knowledge that the breath is important;

For the connection and control of the deeper abdominal and pelvic floor muscles (learn more here)

For the endurance and coordination of movement (learn more here)

As a means for increase or restricting the ranges of movement (learn more here)

However more recently I have also discovered the magical powers of the breathe in the process of controlling the mind! Ok … so you might think this is not new, in fact breath work for meditation and mindfulness has been around since forever and I would have to agree with you. However the insights I have recently gained are more to do with the use of the breath as a tool for entering and calming the mind.I have found them so powerful I wanted to share them with you here.

Exercise 1 – Using the breath to calm and center the mind

The purpose of this exercise is to enable the practice of mindfulness. We use the breath as a tool to help the mind center and return to its natural state of being aware, aware of the breath entering the nostrils, aware of the breath exiting the nostrils, aware of the rise and fall of the abdomen … just aware!

Exercise 2 – Following the breath, don’t lead it

The purpose of this slightly more advanced exercise is to allow the mind to just observe. All to often in body work practices we are giving the mind something to do, “feel you feet, lift your pelvic floor, exhale”. With this exercise we are asking the mind to simply observe, not instruct the autonomic pattern of the breathe. It can be hard at first as the mind naturally tries to exhort its will over the breath, when it should begin to breathe in, when it should begin to breath out and how long the pause in-between should be. As you practice, you will begin to see that you can in fact just observe the breathe, allow it to become light and fluffy, almost cloud like, and as you do so a tremendous sense of openness and joy will begin to fill the place you were previously feeling fear.

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About the author: Lana Johnson

Lana, a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor with 20 years’ experience in the dance and movement world, is driven by the overwhelming desire to help empower individuals to change their total health through efficient movement. She graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and went on to gain her Diploma in Professional Pilates in Studio/Rehab with Polestar Pilates and has since studied and now practices the ConnectTherapy (previously known as the Integrated Systems Model) assisting LJ Lee on her Thoracic and Pelvis courses.

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