Breathing Like A Baby

Breathing Like A Baby

Three breathing explorations to clear winter from your body and help to rebalance and reconnect with yourself.

Spring took a long time to arrive here in Toronto. While I was waiting for Spring to arrive, I spent weeks researching developmental aspects and consciousness of breath support in preparation for my presentation at the Yoga Conference in late March. This was such a rewarding experience I would like to share some of the explorations with you here.

Grow and Shrink

The space around us is known as our kinesphere. As we breathe the shape of our body changes as does the shape of our kinesphere. Awareness is the first step to being with these changes. For the following experiences I recommend you try at least three inhalations and exhalations

As I watch myself breathe in and breathe out – I am noticing how I grow and shrink with the flow of my breath. I notice how the shape of me changes.

Ask yourself the question:

  • Where is it easy to breathe? Where is it hard to breathe?
  • How does awareness of growing and shrinking help me relate to myself and my environment?

Playing with breath by noticing our growing and shrinking process is called Shape Flow breath support and developmentally is an underlying factor in establishing a relationship to ourselves.

Focusing on our internal growing and shrinking processes is a way of toning abdominal muscles and underlying organs so you can connect with your inner sensations and feelings. This is our relationship to self. Because it is a precursor to movement into space and our environment, Shape Flow supports a way of organizing body level choices so you can feel more confident and coordinated.

Bi Polar Breathing: Three experiences

When we focus on breathing equally into two parts of our body, the ‘poles’ of our body, we are breathing Bi-polarly. This symmetrical pattern encourages stability and an internal sense of balance.

A balance of widening and narrowing generates stability and trust.

Now I am going to breathe into both sides of my body at the same time. As I breathe in, I feel myself widening. As I breathe out, I feel myself narrowing. As I inhale, I feel my shoulder blades move apart and I widen. As I exhale, I feel my shoulder blades come towards each other and I feel myself narrow.

As I inhale I feel my hip crests gently move away from the midline of my body, and subtly come back towards my spine as I exhale. As I gradually become aware of this movement, I start to notice what my muscles and underlying organs feel like. I feel these changes and grow to trust myself.

Ask yourself the question:

  • As I grow, what do I need to help me feel calm and nourished?
  • What can I bring into me as I exhale?

A balance of lengthening and shortening generates stability and intentionality.

Now I am going to shift my awareness to growing and shrinking along my spinal column, experiencing my length. I bring awareness to my navel and breathe into my head and tail at the same time. Inhale, breathing in to lengthen head-ward and tail-ward, breathing out to shorten head-ward and tail-ward.

Breathing in I can feel my head and tail and the spaces in between lengthening away from each other. As I breathe out I can feel the spaces shrink and shorten and come closer together. If my mind starts to wander I am going to ask myself to come back to my growing in my length and shrinking via shortening. I start to notice what my muscles and underlying organs feel like. I feel myself getting taller and getting smaller.

Ask yourself the question:

  • How easy is this for me to do?
  • How is this making me feel present to myself?

A balance of bulging and hollowing generates stability and self-confidence, an attitude of “I can do it!”

Now I am going to bring my awareness to growing by bulging out the front and back of my body and shrinking into the front and back of my body. As I inhale I can imagine a parachute billowing out the front and back spaces of my bones. As I exhale the parachute falls softly back towards the landscape of my body by hollowing and shrinking.

Another image supports the growing and shrinking process. Inhale – I am bulging myself out like a big blowfish, exhale – I am hollowing myself to shrink like a sardine. I can feel the muscles of my belly pushing out to help me bulge as I inhale and contracting and pulling in to help me hollow on my exhale. I start to notice what my muscles and underlying organs feel like.

Bulging and hollowing is functional for our body elimination needs (urination and defecation). I gain a sense of control, I feel myself and can do what ever I need to do with bulging and hollowing support.

Ask yourself the question:

  • How does this feel?
  • What do I need to do now?

Allow yourself to breathe as you would like to breathe. And what do you notice now?

Know that if you are feeling off balance, or anxious, an efficient way to reconnect yourself is to play with Bipolar Shape flow breathing. Knowing that this symmetricality encourages stability, an internal sense of balance and supports centering yourself by calming your nervous system so you can make better choices about how to precede, is empowering.

With the change in seasons, I encourage you to go outside and explore Bi-polar Shape flow breathing to clear the cobwebs of the past season away, cleanse your palate, and welcome summer.