Breath is the most important pulse in our body. Without breath, they say, there would be no life. A wide variety of meditation techniques use breath control as the way into quiet. The teacher reminds the class, “Return to the breath, when your mind wanders. Bring yourself back to the present moment.” When you watch your breath, what do you notice? Are you breathing deep or shallow? Which part of your body expands and contracts? How well do you notice the feelings and sensations of breathing?
As you pause for a moment to notice your breath, right now, I invite you to notice the body welcoming and releasing breath. Begin to notice there is a flow into the belly, the ribs and the shoulders. For some, there will be only shoulder movement, others the ribs will expand and release. Still others a flow of breath into the belly, up through the shoulders and then release from the top down will be experienced. No way is “wrong,” we are noticing breath sensations.
As you watch the breath for a few more cycles, begin to notice it is possible to deepen each breath. First the belly begins to fill with each breath. The belly organs feel pressed on with this breath. Then notice the ribs expanding as the lungs fill a bit more. As the ribs fill with breath, you then notice the shoulders filling up near the clavicle or collar bones. Hold and retain the breath for a few moments, noticing the expanded feeling in the body. Then slowly release the breath from the top down – move the collar bones in and down, expressing air from the top of the lungs. Then the ribs move inwards pushing even more breath out. Finally the breath is expelled from the belly, the largest opening in the lungs, as you life up on the diaphragm muscle beneath the ribcage.
This is process of breathing in this specific way is often referred to as “Three Part Breath.” 1) The belly takes in breath. 2) The rib cage takes in breath. 3) The clavicle area takes in breath. Pausing throughout the day to take a series of three to eleven breaths in this way deepens our experience of being alive, connected with other beings and cultivates presence of mind.
During sessions on my massage table, I will often invite attention to the breath. One technique I use with every client brings in more oxygen to assist with release of muscles, joints and tendons.
Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT
603 365-0852 to schedule an appointment this week!