If you follow my adventures here, you will know that not all my posts have a breathing theme but it is my most popular topic- hence the name Breathe With Bexi! Today’s post is a back to basics on breathing and a little intro about how I realised breath is important and how I use it myself everyday.
First of all, if you’re reading this then congratulations you are breathing!!! Sometimes, we worry about breathing correctly or deeply enough and that is counterproductive to the reason we do breathing exercises. How can we release anxieties if we become anxious about the very methods that we are trying to use to help us?
I learnt how important breathing was only when it became a problem for me. I was given an asthma diagnosis when I was about eight years old after having coughing fits and low lung capacity on the good old peak flow meter! Not long after was when I started singing activities in choirs and eventually singing lessons, this all including focusing on breathing! During this time, I grew out of my asthma and as a young person I didn’t connect my breathing and singing work with my asthma. It’s clear to me now though that these activities definitely strengthened my lungs, developed supporting muscles and increased my lung capacity. And so began a life long connection with intentional breathing!
My first tip is don’t overthink breathing. If you are breathing and it feels good then you are on to a great start. Of course, there may be room to increase lung capacity and go even deeper, but as with all practices- starting slowly and building up will ensure long term results. Initially, start with just noticing your breath and where you are at. How are you feeling? Many people notice their breath when they are in panic, how many notice it when they are happy? See if you can be aware of your breathing in lots of different emotional states. This helps us to stay present and connected with the moment we are in- a great way to improve our wellbeing and manage stress.
However, having said that, the second thing I would say is to begin with following breathing patterns. So, as you begin your exploration of breath, it’s really helpful to use a counting method such as 4 counts in, 4 out building up each week until you reach a higher number such as 11. This will seem a far reaching goal at first but with patience and self belief you will get there. Using a counting method means you have a measurable progression and can help with motivation to continue. Once you see that after 4 weeks you’ve doubled your count, you may be inspired to continue. Of course, don’t turn it into a competition or be disheartened if it’s taking a while to build up. This is a wellbeing practice and any engagement with breathing is beneficial!
The third tip I have for breathing basics is to try the breathing techniques everywhere, right from the beginning. Some people start breathing exercises in super quiet spaces and this means that they will always need that quiet space to be able to calm themselves. The magic in breathing is that it is a completely portable technique and can be done anywhere and in any situation. In fact, it’s usually in the busier places that we most need our breathing intentions and practices. If we start right from our early practices by trying them out on busy buses, in crowded shopping streets, we will benefit from the work greatly. More so than if we solely sit down to breath uninterrupted. This is a great space and self kindness too, one I adore but I am also hugely grateful to being able to control my breath in situations many find stressful.
I hope these basics get you started. I will do a post with a series of beginner exercises next week too. For now, let me know how you find these tip!
Best Wishes and Deep Breaths,