Here’s another question from our recent “Ask Me Anything” webinars.
“How should I breathe during the exercises?”
There is a tendency in many modalities to guide the breath in a disciplined fashion: inhale and do this, exhale and do that, etc.
While this was once a way that many of us taught, we have learned that it’s best to simply breathe as you need to.
For many of us, it’s best to breathe a few times in order to, for example, expand and lengthen our front as we lift up into the Back Lift with our head, elbow, hand, and opposite leg. As we slowly and mindfully release out of it (one of the most important parts of the pandiculation as our brain is taking back control of the muscle length and function), we may need to take a couple of soft breaths to “deflate” ourselves.
Adhering to a rigid way of breathing is more in line with exercise than with Somatic Movement and movement exploration.
That being said, there are certain movements in which it is intuitive to exhale or inhale. Consider Arch and Curl: it’s easier to exhale and curl up, letting the ribs close down in the front as the head lifts and the back rounds out. You’re getting smaller and shorter in the front and all the air squeezes out of your lungs as your ribs sink down.
In the Back Lift, it’s easier to lift the head when the belly softens, the chest opens, and the ribs expand. That can happen most efficiently on an inhalation (or two!).
Play with your breathing, but don’t think too much about it.
Once you understand where you’re contracting and where you’re releasing you can explore with the breath and your practice will yield a treasure trove of information.