Breathing & Movement Techniques for a Better Life
In the last post, we were discussing Breathing techniques to relax or activate the body, Unhelpful patterns in the way we breathe and What to do when we notice these patterns. How did it go?
We talked about some of the benefits of breathing correctly including:
– this is the very first step to bring our awareness back to our body
– this works almost 100% of the time we try them
– they are free, etc.
Now that you are aware of your patterns and have changed them (or started) let’s see which other steps we can take to reconnect with ourselves.
Movement vs Non-Movement
If you are suffering from anxiety, I don’t expect to convince you to move with the one thousand reasons therapists give us to move the body. Dance Therapy, Authentic Movement, Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi and other practices are fantastic for our worried mind & body, is true. But I know very well we don’t decide not moving, and, even if we do, we won’t base that decision on what’s good or bad for our body. We just “receive the order” from our mind to our body. Trying to argue with that is pointless.
But I also know that allowing the mind to take over for too long is a huge gamble risk. The longer it happens, the more difficult it is to recover that control. So, we should look for any excuse to move. Any small, even tiny movements, quick walks, gardening, or anything in which we are using our hands, eyes, and feet.
Why We Fail When Trying Conventional Practices
As mentioned in this post about the Observer and the Observed, one reason I think we fail to relax when trying these practices is that we are not paying attention to what our mind and body are saying. When I say “paying attention” I mean from an Observer perspective: What does my mind say? What does my body say? We shouldn’t ignore this voice even if we don’t want to engage with it.
Sometimes we heard of complementary practices like meditation and yoga classes as the miracle pill to enlighten our worries. So we jump into them, hoping we can be cured too. Unfortunately, even if those practices are indeed excellent, sometimes we are not ready to stay still, while opening your hips in a “simple” virasana for over 2 secs.
I believe we first need to “move the anxiety around” the same way we stir sand in a glass of water. Depending on how deep we feel about it or how long we have been hosting this feeling, we might need a stronger “spoon and stirring motion”.
In my classes, we shake the body (as animals do after a life-threatening experience), brush the skin with the hands or tap the bones before attempting to practise yoga or sit still. I can feel it in myself and others: Once we move the stagnant energy condensed in one part of our body, we create new, cleaner energy that helps us feel a tiny bit more alive. Or at least to feel “something within ” (usually heat), which is what we want when we feel disconnected from any sensations, right?
This little extra spark of energy could be just what we needed to take another step. Nothing is too small. Movement is the first therapy option for most mental health issues. “If one keeps walking” is the name of the project my dance teacher Hagit is working on. She encourages people never to stop moving, dancing big or small dances, following the rhythm or going against it, listening to their emotions, and what the body has to say, embracing the awkwardness of not knowing, the freedom of knowing or just feeling! If one keeps walking, everything will be fine. I can almost hear her scream!
Is when we stop that our mind takes over. Moving is always the way because this is when we generate ideas and solutions. We don’t need to know exactly what to do to solve a problem; we don’t even need to have a plan; we create the plan while moving! Something as simple as taking a couple of deep breaths can immediately make us feel grounded in the soil of this present time!
I prepared this short and very soft sequence for whenever you want to try. It doesn’t have to happen today. Sometimes, I check online classes from my bed with no intention to move, only to check. I feel like my brain must take a sneaky pic before allowing anything to move. But this is my trick: I think the content stays in our mind “working out”, so next time we check the class, voilà!, we might start moving like if our mind sent the “authorisation” to try it out.
One step at the time. Nothing is too small!
Let me know how it goes or if you have any comments. I would love to hear from you!