When this phrase made its way to me some years ago, the concept stuck in my neural net like a fly in a web. EVERY breath can be an opportunity to release. Just WOW, right?!! The possibilities!
I gave it a shot, and my shoulders dropped what felt like three inches. That breath was relieving, but the simple act of becoming curious of the opportunity, 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 that first experience, the mantra “Every breath is an opportunity to release” has been a staple tool in my arsenal, becoming one of my favorite reminders and exploration tools for myself and my clients. 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.
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.
If you’d like to take your experience even further down the rabbit hole, try out this three minute tune- up meditation I recently recorded, rooted in the work of Milton Trager.