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Breathe in, Breathe out: Why Breathing is the Foundation of our Health

Without breathing we have no life, and yet, our breath remains a mystery with many of us being unaware that our breath changes the moment we are born and continues to change in response to our lived experience and life stories.

So, being breath aware is the foundation of restoring regulation to our nervous system, and the focus of this, my first blog post for Breathing Space.

Many moments in life can change the course of our breath journey, very similar to a ship on the sea, responding to the changing conditions, waves and tides. So, just as the boat changes its course, our breath changes and through breath awareness we can learn to navigate life supporting our breath, and our body and mind. Becoming aware of what we need, before we are pulled off course by our shifting states.

If you feel comfortable and safe, can you bring yourself to sit with your breath and join me in an exercise? If for any reason the thought or ‘feeling’ of going inwards to connect with your breath feels uncomfortable in any way, please listen to your body and a breathing exercise is possibly not right for you, right now. And that is OK.

If you feel comfortable, let’s begin with a bite-size or micro-mindful breathing exercise.

Can you find your breath? Using a gentle inquisitiveness can you notice where your breath is in your body?

Is it perhaps high in your throat, pause for a moment to explore your breath, or maybe you have discovered it lower in your chest, or even lower again, around your tummy?

Are you aware of the quality of your breathing? It may feel cool or warm, it may be shaky or steady, and you may also notice a sense that your breath is deep or shallow.

Can you stay with your breath, comfortably? If yes, stay here and be a gentle observer, if you like make some notes about your breath. If you feel a sense of discomfort leave your breath focus and ground yourself, moving your attention to your environment by pressing your feet into the ground or simply noticing by naming what you see, colours perhaps and objects around you.

This practice may be small, but it can feel like a mountain when you struggle to connect to your breath or are new to breath awareness.

Remember, slow is good, remind yourself of the hare and the tortoise.

Throughout my posts and my work with clients, you will find a less is more approach and this is something those of us who look at life through a polyvagal lens and deliver the SSP, feel is powerful, sustaining both safety and our ability to achieve long-term change.

Together we have dipped our toe into our connection to our breath and now we can begin to notice our relationship with our breathing and begin a journey of understanding and kindness, to what is the foundation of our wellness.

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