The difference between breathing and BREATHING
If you sit on the floor, cross your legs and lean over as far as is comfortable, then breathe deeply, you will have a very different experience. This is because you are breathing into your back. If you have any kind of lower back pain, it simply feels wonderful.
We have more lung tissue in the back of us than we do in the front, so when you breath (in a ‘thinking about it’ way) ,you may be thinking about ‘filling up the balloon’ which is really your stomach. However, when you do this ‘back’ breathing exercise above, you realise that breathing into the balloon is a 360 degree thing and your back takes a whole heap of it too.
I have always been a ‘mindful breather’ because I am an acute asthmatic. At some point in my childhood a lung collapsed and I still remember the blue lips, white face in the wing mirror of the car as my mum drove me to hospital. The way I have coped with this is by learning to breathe deeply and right down to my navel. I simply breathe every breath in this way. I also have to keep a level of fitness for the level of lung capacity I need.
In a recent hypnobirthing workshop, I was teaching the ‘in for 20 and out for 20′ balloon breathing and realised quite a few people can’t even get to 10 comfortably. It takes practise but it is so worth doing. Breathing long, slow and deep is literally gold; it doesn’t matter where you are, or how you are physically you can always pull yourself into this thoughtful breathing – in to 20 and out for 20 with a slow, easy flow. Your body relaxes, your mind clears, you feel better and it really helps clear ‘the funk’.
Before kids, I could do just a few minutes of deep breathing as soon as I woke up. Kids don’t really go for the horizontal, deep breathing morning things, so I just had to learn to blank them out while I did it myself. Okay, it didn’t feel as good but it was better than nothing. At some point, I realised my toddler was copying me and by the time she was four, she would just fall into line. My younger daughter is now doing the same. She likes to get her belly out and feel her ‘balloon’ (or ‘daddy’s tummy’ as she calls it’) expanding under her little hands.
I don’t think they get much benefit out of mindful breathing as a morning routine but when they lose the plot, tantrum, get furious because Mummy said no – I remind them to breathe. They fall into it quickly and fall out of their tantrum within seconds.
Breathing is a godsend. Teach it to yourself then teach it to everyone you know, whatever their age!!