Kind July – Breathing

Joseph Pilates is quoted as saying “Breathing is the first act of life, and the last. Our very life depends on it.” He referred to complete exhalation and inhalation to fill our bodies with life-giving oxygen.

For July, we will take this concept of the importance of the breath and apply it to some self-care. Give yourself a few moments of conscious breathing – a wonderful gift.

Sit comfortably. While a quiet place would be beneficial, it’s not always that easy to find. You will be concentrating on your breathing so sounds and activities around you will not be a distraction.

Close your eyes; rest your hands on your belly or in your lap; soften your mouth.

Take a really deep breath through your nose; fill up from your belly to your collarbones. Feel your ribcage expand. Now slowly exhale all the air through your mouth. Your lungs will automatically refill with fresh air. Do this for 2 more breaths. If you want to, you could also add a short pause after each inhale and exhale.

Without force, breathe more naturally and silently observe your body breathing. Can you feel your ribs expanding against your arms? Perhaps you can feel your belly expanding a little. Observe for 5-10 breath cycles.

Give this little gift to yourself morning and night and whenever you feel like taking a short break away from the activities of your day. I like to do it on the train or the tram. So much better for me than bending my neck to look at my phone.

If you have a willing work colleague, friend or partner close by you may want to try partner breathing now.

Sit facing away from each other with your backs touching. You can still do a couple of deep breaths (can you fill the significant movement of your partner’s ribs as they inhale and exhale?) and then start the observation of your natural breathing. Focus on feeling the change in your partner’s back as they gently inhale and exhale. This is a lovely gift to give to one another.

Happy breathing!