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Unwind and Relax: breathing

Unwind and Relax with your breath.

NOTE: These movement explorations are just that. See if you can explore without trying to do it the “Right Way” or worry that you are doing it the wrong way. The purpose of these exercises are to explore possibilities, not to evaluate and correct your movements. I am not interested in teaching you the “correct” way to breathe or be.

1. Get into your most comfortable resting position: on your back, side, sitting, or laying on your stomach, etc.
You can be on an exercise mat on the floor or under the covers in bed.
Try the following movement explorations slowly and gently.

2. Take a moment to notice your breathing without changing how you breathe.
Keep your eyes and tongue soft.
Remember how you are breathing now so that you can recall it later.

3. On your next inhale, slowly draw in your abdomen, then let your abdomen go as you exhale.
You can think of taking your belly button in the direction of your spine as you inhale.
Do this a few times.
What happens to your chest/upper back/under your armpits when you draw in your abdomen as you inhale?
Use a comfortable amount of effort to do this.

4. Let everything go and rest for a moment.
Do you notice anything different about your breathing now?
If you don’t notice anything different, that’s fine.

5. On your next exhale, slowly expand your abdomen while you let your chest flatten, then let everything go as you inhale.
When you exhale, imagine that you are a toddler, proudly showing off your belly.
Do this a few times at a leisurely pace.

6. Let everything go and rest.
What do you notice about your breathing now?

7. When you’re ready, slowly draw in your lower abdomen and expand your chest as you inhale. Then, slowly expand your abdomen and let your chest flatten as you exhale.
Repeat this a few times slowly.
Coordinate or choreograph the movements so that you are smoothly transitioning between expanding your belly and expanding your chest.
Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest to help you notice if you are making an easy and graceful seesaw movement between your chest and abdomen.
Continue refining the coordination for this movement as long as it is easy and interesting to you.
Stop and rest before you get tired.

8. Let everything go.
Do you remember how you were breathing in the beginning?
Are you breathing differently now?
Let your eyes and tongue be soft.

If you found this to be interesting or helpful and want to know more, you’re welcome to take an Awareness Through Movement class with me.