Stop what you are doing right now and lie on the floor. Well, maybe read through this first, but then lie down on the floor!
In the last Breathing post we looked at some of the common problematic breath patterns. Here’s the first step to understanding your pattern(s):
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Allow your eyes to fall closed, turning your attention inward.
2. Rest your hands on rest on your the lower part of your rib cage.
3. Breathe through your nose and notice the motion in your ribcage as you inhale and exhale. Notice the expansion of the ribcage on your inhale. Can you feel it move side to side, up and down and even front to back? The ribcage is where we want to move first and most when we breathe.
If your ribcage isn’t moving when you breathe think about softening and allowing expansion without increasing either the volume of air or effort you are putting into breathing.
4. Now move your hands to your belly. Feel your belly rise and fall on inhale and exhale.
If your belly isn’t moving, can you think about softening it – try softening your jaw first and see if that helps. It can take time for the belly to soften, we hold A LOT of tension in our belly area. Try letting go of tension as you exhale, imagining your body melting into the floor.
5. Place the hands back on the floor. Continue to breathe through your nose and notice how ribcage and then belly expand on inhale and return to resting on exhale.
6. Turn your attention to the quality of your breath. Is it smooth or are their hitches? Do you rush through the inhale or exhale? Do you hold the breath at any point? Get curious about what you do.
After trying this on the floor you can take it with you and do it at your desk, while sitting at the piano, driving in your car, eating dinner etc. Just commit to observing without judgement and see what you find out.
Enjoy and let me know what you discover!