Don't Forget to Breathe Pt. 1

I know that how I move affects my environment and that my outer environment is in interaction with my inner experience.
— Peggy Hackney

Often, a newer client comes to me relaying a personal account of a time where they were called on to speak. They describe how their brain went blank or the words they formed in their brain didn't make it out of their mouth, one of the first things I ask is, "were you breathing?"

Usually, the answer was "No!," or "I don't know." 

As described by Hackney, breathing can be less than optimum for a number of reasons:

  • birth defects or chronic damage

  • acute trauma due to an accident or injury

  • heightened emotions or feelings

  • sub-optimum movement or posture (slumping, trying to "flatten" the stomach

  • smoking

  • misunderstanding the process of breathing

  • seasonal allergies or pollution

In a culture obsessed with flat stomachs (and dis-integrated bodies) we truly do not understand how to breathe. 


Encounter your breath

Breathing is the most basic way there is to connect yourself to yourself, to your environment, to other people. Consider for a moment, how incredible it is that we draw out environment into our selves on inhalation, and expel little parts of our selves out into our environment on exhalation. From that perspective, the boundary of our physical form is much less solid.

Breath is a physical action that carries a deep and complex emotional wallop. As Arthur Samuel Joseph notes, "The root of the word ‘spirit’ means ‘to breathe’. The root of the word inspire, ‘inspirare’ is to ‘to breathe into’. The Hebrew word, ‘neshama’ means both ‘soul’ and ‘breath’ "

Take 3 big conscious breaths upon waking and when you turn off the light at night. Observe what shifts.

Why Does It Matter?

  • Neurological Patterning

Breathing is the first movement pattern of an infant and is therefore the foundation for all other neurological patterns.

  • Seeking A Connection

"Conscious cultivation of breath is recognized in many cultures to be an important part of attuning to a spiritual connection between the individual and the universe." - Peggy Hackney 

  • Health

“Cellular breathing forms the building blocks of our ‘life process’. Where it is not taking place, the cells are dead, where there is difficulty, the cells are struggling; and where it is occurring freely the cells are alive and healthy" - Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

In Part Two, we are going to look at breathing in greater detail - the physiological process, benefits, and get started with a breath exercise...

Further Reading

 Arthur Samuel Joseph on Breath

Making Connections: Total Body Integration Through Bartenieff Fundamentals


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