Amazing how obviously simple truths from just the right angle at just the right time can be such profound experiences in our lives, isn’t it? Sorta like getting hit in the face with a brick you’ve known since kindergarden.
In fact, when I think about it, a lot of my practice is based on cultivating awareness of this phenomenon.
Somewhere along the line, (maybe even while procrastinating on facebook), I ran across the phrase above and was taken aback. I tried the idea I’d had a zillion times out in that moment and immediately felt different; my shoulders dropped what felt like 3 inches lower than they had been.
Not only was that breath more relieving than most in recent memory, the simple act of becoming aware of the opportunity and then taking action to better my experience of life gave me a self care high that lasted long after I had returned to automatic breathing while doing other stuff.
Since then, the mantra “Every breath is an opportunity to release” really stuck with me, and has become one of my favorite things to remind myself, and my clients during our sessions. Here’s a quick example of a few ways this idea could work for you right now:
Disclaimer yadda yadda: The following is offered freely as felt-sense education. It is not therapy and does not replace medical diagnosis or treatment. Please use your discretion in participating in this exploration as you do so at your own risk. If it hurts, stop. If you are currently suffering from chronic pain or acute injury, attempt these instructions only under direct medical supervision.
Take three long breaths to surrender into your posture with intention. For each of these three breaths, your job is to use your awareness and favorite visualization techniques to let something go, no matter how small or trivial. Each exhale is a new opportunity to release – an emotion, a thought, a fear, an expectation, a physical holding, or sometimes, even just a breath.
Here are some suggestions:
Breath awareness example:: Focus on the sensation your long exhale causes as the breath passes under your nose and back out into the world.
Tension awareness example: Notice your hand closed in an unconscious fist? Focus your awareness and imagine your fingers uncurling as you exhale (or watch!).
Visualization Example:: Imagine your shoulders are made of a dense net of millions of particles (hint: they are!), and your breath is filtering between them, loosening the sticky trapped debris as you exhale.
Fantasy Example: Mind racing about that wad who cut you off on the freeway? Imagine their car is the size of a hotwheel, and your breath is a big gust of wind that carries them out of your consciousness as you exhale. Smile as they tumble away like a dry leaf getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller (BUHBYE.). This works with more hefty subject matter, too, though differently. I discovered it during a particularly heinous breakup and used it constantly to stay afloat during the worst of that shitstorm. I like how versatile this one is.
Congratulations, you’ve taken a moment for yourself, which oftentimes feels like an insurmountable feat, and have some examples to help you personalize your releases through breath. Let me know if you want more.
Take care of you,