Body Image and Breathing

First Movement Awareness Workshop in a Series of Three called,  Breathe Easier 

The focus of our recent workshop was our spine and the relationship between the spine and breathing.  Yes, the spine!  Consider a moment if you have ever connected to the flexibility of your spine to the quality of breathing you are experiencing.   To begin integrating the vertebrate and spine into breathing, we began with a  picture demonstrating the curvature of the spine.  The intention was to start releasing a rigid posture into a more relaxed one through use of our imagination.  How many times to you visualize your spine in a day?

Learning then shifted focus as we went  into experiencing some simple movements.  Steps were added to increase the experience as we went along.  The awareness came through the changes class members began to notice in themselves.

For their benefit, here are some reminders for the week ahead.  Each one can be done separately during the day or in combination by adding the steps in progression.  REMEMBER:  The quality of your movement matters.  Slow it down, make it same and learn to cut your effort.  Do only 20 percent of your big movements!  Learning matters and it only happens when you slow down and pay attention.

Breathing Logo

CHEST & BELLY

  • Soften upper chest area to allow expansion and retraction with in and out breaths
  • Remember there are no lungs in the belly.  Belly breathing is specific to an activity like singing, dance – it is NOT the only way to breathe
  • Begin to pull belly in when breathing in and notice where the air goes.
  • Begin to push out breath in to belly and notice the chest sink.
  • Practice this for a few rotations during the day, perhaps when waking and before going to bed and let the practice go and simply notice any differences.

ROCKING YOUR SPINE

  • Spend time sitting on the front edge of your chair and notice if you can sense your sit bones.
  • Feet flat on floor under your knees.
  • Knees and legs in alignment to your hips, so, hip width apart.
  • Relax your back so that you can sense any slight adjustments
  • Notice your head on top of your spine and that it is  opposite your pelvis.
  • Unlock your neck and as you breath in bring your weight forward on your sit bones.
  • Let the movement come from your pelvis and continue to relax your upper body.
  • After following your in breathe several times begin following your out breath
  • As you breath out let your weight shift back on your sit bones. 
  • Continue to soften upper chest and neck.
  • Begin to alternation and notice when your lower back arches forward and when it rounds back.

SLIDING SHOULDER BLADES

  • Hands resting on your thighs.
  • A few times as you breath in bring your shoulder blades closer to your spine.
  • Then switch and as you exhale widen the space between your shoulder blades.
  • Alternate for a few breaths and then stop and notice any changes.

TIPPING HEAD

  • With an in breath let eyes, nose and chin travel up so that your chin moves away from your chest.
  • After a few in breaths stop and follow your outward breath.
  • When you exhale let you chin drop slightly towards your chest.
  • After some time begin to alternate with your cycle of breathing.
  • Stop and notice where your attention goes.

EYES

  • Soften your eyes.
  • Begin to let your eyes travel up to the ceiling as you breath in and bring them back to the horizon in front of you as you exhale.
  • After some time begin to let your nose and chin travel up after your eyes start the movement.
  • Notice if you see everything in between the two points or do your eye jump.  What do you need to do to slow your eye movement to see everything?
  • Stop, wait a moment and notice.
  • Now take your eyes down towards the floor a few times with your outward breathe.
  • Add the movement of the chin and nose letting your eyes lead.
  • Stop, notice for a few breaths and then begin to alternate between the two.
  • Stop and notice.

As mentioned above, benefits can be achieved by practicing each of the above separately or doing one movement for a short time and then adding the next area to it increasing it.  REMEMBER  it is to be done slow, easy with many stops for noticing changes.  It’s not in the effort, it in learning to cut your effort.

See you all at the second in our series.   I look forward to seeing how you have integrated the changes and if your movements reflect your own image of what you are going.  Sometimes we think we are doing something and it is not what is actually happening.  One of the benefits of being coached is a coach can see the outcome more clearly!

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