As the Egret in mythology connects water and air, our body is the link from our inner to outer realms. The breathing process moves air from the outer realm into our inner before our breath returns to the outer. Our inner realm supporting us as we move into the environment. The breathing offering this month represents the completion of the Shape – Flow explorations I have been sharing in my previous newsletters. If you would like to review the breath patterns I suggest you visit the archives and see the spring and summer offerings.
Moving towards pleasurable stimuli and away from noxious stimuli are motivating factors for Shape – Flow breathing. We are three-dimensional beings moving through the fourth dimension of time. Our three dimensions are the Horizontal, the Vertical, and the Sagittal. When you add a spatial element to your breathing process, you begin to connect your specific body parts (inner) to the outer environment. While breathing with a spatial emphasis, notice how each dimension affects your feeling about yourself in the world.
Horizontal breath in Shape flow is breathing fully into the paired bones of your body such as the ribs and the hip crests of the pelvis. Extending the flow of breath into your hands and out into the reaches of the sides as you inhale you connect with space. As you exhale and soften your breath, cross your arm towards your chest, enclosing and protecting your heart.
Hugging yourself, holding hands with someone, walking arm and arm with someone, are all examples of using the horizontal dimension or plane. Breathing into your sides establishes the width or narrowness of your body and your sense of right or left sidedness. We give out and take in what we need to nurture ourselves in the horizontal. We offer, share and embrace in the horizontal.
If sitting or standing, breathe along the spinal column headward/tailward, then upward (toward the ceiling) into Space or downward into the floor. If you are lying down, breathe beyond your head into space or beyond your feet into space.
This pattern helps to connect the inner shape-flow head/tail lengthening relationship to the outer up/down pull of gravity. Aligning ourselves with the pull of gravity is a force that we must attend to for life. A sense of being (becoming) or not being (disappearing) occurs in the Vertical. We become our best self or struggle with the burdens of life in the Vertical. Phrases such as “ Climbing the corporate ladder” or “I feel really weighed down” indicate a vertical sensibility.
Sagittarius is the archer and a good way of remembering this movement direction (one arm extended forward and the other drawing the bowstring backward). Inhale to fill your body with breath and send the breath out into the space in front and in back of yourself. Shoot the arrow towards a target.
Buddhist priest Thích Nhất Hạnh reminds us: “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” The Egret comes to remind me of who it is I really am, and the gifts that I have inside of me. I have within me the ability to create and live in a way that truly resonates with my heart. Conscious Shape – Flow breathing reminds me I have all of the tools and resources within me to navigate my way and to always remember to trust myself what I feel, what I know and what I see from inside out.