For this week’s blog, I am choosing to continue the theme of the last 2 weeks—Breathing. One of my student’s often calls me the ‘master of the obvious’, for I will often state something that seems so ‘obvious’ once I have explained it, yet he may not have thought about it in quite the same way before- and that is the point of today’s blog.
Clearly, breathing is primal.
A few basic facts:
- There is always at least 30% oxygen in our lungs so that we cannot suffocate.
- The average adult will breathe from 17,000 to 30,000 times per day, depending on how active we are.
- If one’s larynx (our ‘voice box’) is removed for surgical reasons, one cannot breathe without their larynx, so a hole must be created in our throat, as we cannot breathe without our larynx.
This is the ‘obvious part.’ What may not be so obvious, is that a breath is not only physical, it is also emotional. For example, in high states of stress we may ‘hold our breath’, or hyper-ventilate.
In my Work—Vocal Awareness—I teach a proprietary breathing technique. It is the 3rd of the 7 Rituals of Vocal Awareness.
The Ritual states: Allow A Slow, Conscious Loving Breath—And Enjoy It While You Do So.
I know, an odd concept. ‘Allow a Breath’, ‘Enjoy a Breath.’ However, please try the following, and you will experience something so natural, empowering and comforting, you will want to train yourself to breathe like this all the time.
- First, take a normal breath, then notice how you feel, and how your external space feels. Notice how your chest rises. (Incidentally, your larynx will rise as well, and your the base of your tongue will tense.)
Now, I will introduce you to Ritual 3.
- Sit comfortably. Release any stress, tension in your body.
- Relax your neck and shoulders.
As I walk you through each step of this transformational breathing experience, please NOTE EVERY DETAIL.
- First—this breath will take 5 to 7 seconds. NEVER RUSH IT, OR ‘TAKE IT’. Allow it.
- Second, it is ALWAYS EXCEEDINGLY SLOW AND COMPLETELY SILENT. As you explore this remarkable breath your tendency may be to rush the beginning of your inhale ever so slightly. Please don’t.
A BREATH IS NOT MERELY PHYSICAL IT IS ALSO SPIRITUALLY/EMOTIONALLY CONNECTED TO WHO WE ARE.
When we ‘Allow A Breath’, there is no forcing, no rushing. Simply allow it to take the time it wants to complete itself, which will actually be 5 to 7 seconds. As you gently inhale, hear the word ‘LOVING’ while doing so. Simply repeat as though it were a mantra. Please notice that as you successfully engage this unique breath, unlike when breathing ‘normally’, this time, your internal and external space are quieter. In addition, your neck and shoulders are more relaxed, your chest did not rise, rather your intercostals ( your rib cage) expanded, and instead of tensing/flexing, your larynx and tongue relaxed.
A couple of additional interesting factoids is that this ‘intercostal-diaphragmatic breath’ is the breath of a newborn. When Allowing A Conscious Loving Breath, you instinctively and automatically are returned to your primal breath.
And, the second factoid—the Latin root of the word Spirit—Spiritus—means ‘to breathe’; the Hebrew word Neshema means, among other interpretations, both ‘soul and breath.’
Now, please do the following: Engage this Ritual for 2 minutes at a time, as frequently as you would like.
PLEASE—NEVER RUSH IT.
On another level, recognize that this technique is a true paradigm shift. So please notice subtle details.
In Vocal Awareness I ask that you strive to be in Conscious Awareness, NOTICING EVERYTHING PLEASE. You may even want to note details of your experience in a notebook and track them as you progress with this technique.
As your ‘CLB’ (Conscious Loving Breath) becomes your ‘new normal’, apply it to everything you do—yoga, exercises, meditation…Your breathing will no longer be just that—a purely functional breath—but so much more.
In these harrowing times we need all the resources possible to not simply survive this challenging moment in our lives, but, like the mythical Phoenix, soar above it.
What better way to do so, than soaring on the bounty of our own breath.
For additional breathing insights, please reference earlier blogs from the last 2 weeks here: