Today, let’s explore the second aspect of Breathwork: “Conscious Breathing.”
This is where you transform ordinary breathing into a dynamic creative process. Conscious breathing means bringing a certain intention or quality to the breath. It means breathing in a certain way, or for a specific purpose.
We will explore many different breathing exercises, techniques, and meditations. The first conscious breathing exercise involves engaging the exhale. We call it the “Coming Home Breath!” Or the “All The Work is Done Breath!”
With this breath, we are inviting and enhancing a very natural breathing reflex: the sigh of relief. We deliberately do it. We trigger it. We build on it. We participate in this natural reflex, we consciously cooperate with it.
When you are anxious, afraid, or in pain, you breathe in a certain way. And when you get free of the pain, or when the fear and anxiety passes, you experience a sigh of relief. You don’t consciously do it. It happens automatically, by itself…
So the first conscious breathing technique isn’t really a technique at all: it’s a soft natural reflex. We simply bring it on!
Notice that when you are anxious, afraid, or in pain, that you do not normally take a big smooth soothing sigh of relief. At those uncomfortable times, your breath is normally shallow, chaotic, held, or stuck.
The sigh of relief comes only after the fear or pain passes.
But what if you could give yourself a big soothing sigh of relief right in the middle of those moments? Something would have to happen to the pain, fear, or anxiety. Can you guess what?
And so, practice this “Coming Home Breath” as often as you can. Master it so that you can access it at will, so that it is available to you when you need it. Make it a habit of your system, and it will bring you countless benefits.
Right now, give yourself a big soothing luxurious sigh of relief. Exaggerate it. Make it dramatic. Be theatrical! Do it again and again. Make each one better and juicier than the last.
Feel how this breath sends a powerful message to your nervous system, it sends an unmistakable message to every cell of your body, and to your subconscious mind.
When you let the exhale go, let all your muscles go. (You might want to lay down for this!) With each big sigh of relief, you can focus on a certain muscle, or a muscle group: your jaw, neck, shoulders, pelvis…
The idea is to release all physical tension, as you release the exhale.
You can also take this cleansing breath to another level. You can be creative with this healing breath… using it to let go of other things… things that bother you, or things that hold you back in life…
You can use this breath to let go of fear, anxiety, or pain. You can use it to let go of disturbing thoughts. You can use it to drop negative or limiting ideas about yourself, others, life and the world.
You can use it to complete one activity, or to begin another. Use it to stop carrying forward unwanted energy of the past. Use it to be more alive and awake, to be more clear and present to each new moment in life.
Monitor your client’s process and progress by testing their shoulders, spine, arms, legs, hips, pelvis… gently moving or stretching them while they release the exhale… Gently cradle their head and neck to check for tension and relaxation.