Updated: Apr 22, 2020
If you look at a baby or your pet sleeping, you can see what natural breathing looks like: Their whole body is involved in breathing. As the lungs fill with air, the rib cage expands 3-dimensionally. With the inhale the diaphragm, our breathing muscles, descends so the abdominal organs are pushed outwards. The belly is soft and moves gently with the breath. In a relaxed state, breathing is deep, calm and easy.
Most people unconsciously interfere with natural breathing. Especially under stress, breathing gets shallow and more rapid and we have a tendency to hold our breath. Excessive tension in the body makes it difficult to breathe deeply and fully. Stress and anxiety compromises not only our breathing: Our muscles get tight, our movements get rigid, our thinking gets limited and our emotions get overwhelming.
Practicing deep or natural breathing helps us to balance our body and mind. Breathing deeply puts a break on our stress response or the fight-or-flight-response in the body. It helps to regulate the tone of the vagus nerve which allows for slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, better digestion and clearer thinking. Breathing naturally engages our frontal cortex which is the area of the brain for self-awareness, judgement and compassion. It connects us to ourselves in a deeper way, and allows for more flow and ease in the body!
Working with your breath doesn’t require a certain set-up. You can put attention to your breathing at any moment and wherever you are. In fact, it is best to become aware of your breathing many times during the day!
Now let yourself be guided:
Notice how your body is supported by the surface underneath. If you are sitting, notice the chair underneath your buttocks and the floor underneath your feet. If you are standing, just let your feet soften and ease into the floor. In a lie-down on the floor or on the bed, be aware of the body parts that are in contact with the surface underneath: your feet, legs, back, arms and head.
Wherever you are, allow your body weight to release down. Let yourself to be supported. Give in to gravity!
Scan your body for a moment and let go of any muscular holding. Where do you notice tension?
Let all unnecessary muscle tension ease: Drop your shoulders. Let your jaw be open and soft, and let your tongue rest easily in the mouth.
Now notice the flow of breath in your body. Notice your inhale and exhale and your breath flows in and out of your body.
Just put the attention to your breathing without changing anything. In – out.
Where do you notice the movement of breath in your body? Maybe in your chest and belly…
Let your belly be soft.
Now, if you notice that you are trying to breathe deeper, if you are trying to make it happen, let it go. Come back to your support. Notice the floor or the chair underneath you and once again ease into it.
Just be aware of your breathing as it naturally flows in and out of your body…
Now notice a little pause after exhaling. There is a little moment of rest … before the next inhale occurs.
If you don’t notice this moment just pause your breath for a few seconds after the exhale This is a very short pause. Then notice the inhale occur naturally and deeply. Just by itself.
Try this for a few times. You breathe in and out. You are aware of a little pause after the exhale or you deliberately pause shortly… Then you observe the inhale occur naturally.
Stay with this for a few breaths.
Now come back to just observing the flow of your breath in your body. Easy. In – out. In your own rhythm.
Come back to just observe the flow of your breath. Allow your belly to be soft. Ease into your support from underneath.
Notice that your breath is deepening as you are aware of the flow of your breath.
Enjoy the flow of breath in your body. In – out.
Thanks for a moment of ease!