the art of receiving the breath

The art of receiving the breath

Last week at the end of my workshop about the pelvic floor and its relationship to posture, several people said how helpful they found the breath work so I thought to share. Here in a nutshell, is what we did.

Receiving the Breath

  1. Sitting on upright chairs we got ourselves into a comfortable position using the backrest for support, the knees, hips and ankles at right angles and our feet flat on the floor or a cushion (or yes, a Buttafly!)
  2. Everyone was invited to close their eyes and rest a hand gently on their upper belly over the solar plexus area.
  3. I led them through a guided meditation starting with a body scan to take their awareness away from their the breath – I find it can be difficult not to manipulate the breath as soon as you bring your awareness to it.
  4. We concluded the visualization of the abdomen where we spent quite some time letting go, letting go and letting go again. The aim was to fully relax the belly so that it may be completely ready to “receive” the diaphragm.

Let’s sidestep for a moment in our mind’s eye onto our yoga mat and a physical practice where we invite movement to follow the breath, getting into the feeling of how the breath can motivate the movement… Does anyone like me ever get caught up in consciously action-ing the breath rather than letting myself be breathed?

The major muscle of breathing is the diaphragm and has two domes that when relaxed snuggle under the ribs. As it contracts it flattens down towards the belly setting up a negative pressure in the thorax that literally sucks the breath in. So actually movement happens first, the inhale second.

Back to the meditation and bringing our awareness once again to the movement of the diaphragm and now, the movement of the pelvic floor. They move in the same direction so that on an inhale the pelvic floor releases just a little “downwards” and on an exhale the pelvic floor is drawn up into the body. It’s subtle and may take a while to feel in your own body.

If you have no sense of their associated movement, don’t worry – just know that in normal functioning the diaphragm and the pelvic floor travel in the same direction and imagine this happening.

Whether you connect with the imagination of the correct movement or whether the imagination inspires the correct movement, it doesn’t entirely matter because with repetition you will for sure restore optimal function and an elastic pelvic floor that responds to the movement of the diaphragm.