Your breath and your movement are not separate things. Your breath is your movement. When we breathe we move bones, muscle tissue, fascia, and skin. With each breath, we change shape. The body is designed to create movement for efficient respiration: in and out. Up and down. Back and forth. This may seem obvious, but when you approach your breath practice as a movement practice, it can transform into an internal laboratory of play and imagination. It creates a purposeful breathing experience and a true somatic awareness.
How does your breath move? During one breath, the air goes in and out of only one place – the lungs while the upper body moves in a pattern that informs all of the breaths that follow. The blueprint of a breath contains your neck, chest, shoulders, ribs, respiratory diaphragm, belly, back body, and pelvis. And yet your breath travels far beyond the edges of your anatomy.
When you harness the natural design of breath movement, it can change your state of being. An example of this is when you hold your breath and don’t allow it to move at all. You cut off oxygen and carbon dioxide, and you stack up tension within your body’s architecture. When we are frozen and fearful, holding our breath feels like the safest thing to do. In fact, it promotes the opposite effect. We want to empower our resolve by slowing the rate of our breath. This communicates to the nervous system that we are ok. And knowing how to direct a breath into the back body or low belly, for example, is incredibly supportive and yields a feeling of safety. This is not only a skill but a gift you give yourself.
Purposeful breath articulation can shift patterns that might be creating imbalances in the body or mental state without you even realizing it. The practice of breath movement goes beyond anatomy, directions, or cadence. Yes, it is a simple awareness of the most consistent, natural process within ourselves. And yet within this uncomplicated attention, we can feel more present, safe, and whole. Notice where the next breath you take moves you and accept the invitation to be exactly where you are.
Want to learn more about breathing movement and mechanics? Check out our new on-demand video course “Breath Is Movement” now!