Find pain relief with breathing. Part 2. Find out how a simple, 60 second activity can give you a brand-new perspective.
If you’ve read Find pain relief with breathing. Part 1, you’ll know how breathing can seriously affect the way we feel. Our next stage is to start discovering more about the process of breathing.
Discovering the space in one minute.
Find somewhere you wont be disturbed for 60 seconds or so. Close the door. Turn your devices to silent. Set a timer for 60 seconds. A vibrate alert on a phone is ideal.
Now get in a comfortable, seated position. You can do this anywhere. Even the toilet!
Close your eyes, and breath slowly in through your nostrils, and slowly out through your nostrils. Slowly.
That’s one breath.
Continue in this slow, measured manner, really noticing the breath, and counting each one.
Continue until the alert on your timer goes off.
What did you discover?
At the end of the minute – how many breaths did you count?
What happened to time? Did it feel like a long time? Did it pass quickly? What did you notice?
Were you paying attention to the breath? Or was your mind naturally wondering?
Consider all these questions, and ask yourself how you are feeling – paying special attention to any differences in breathing rates. Note any sensations in your muscles.
Taking it further.
This is going to sound crazy, but in order to get the most out of the time you set aside for this activity, you will need to forget about trying to achieve a goal.
Simply observe your breathing. Try not to be judgmental. Be curious.
Imagine you don’t know exactly where you’re going, and you’ve got plenty of time get there.
Why not set the timer, and try it again?
Q. I tried it, and I just kept thinking about what I was having for dinner, about a current project, or about my kids. What went wrong?
A. Nothing. That’s normal. Don’t get annoyed with your thoughts, that’s all they are – thoughts. The trick is to notice them, and just gently push them to one side. Thoughts, like sheep, aren’t always the brightest things, they go running about, bumping into each other and getting confused. So like sheep, gently herd them away, so you can get along with just counting the breath…one…two…
Q. Wow. That was cool! It went really slowly and felt like ages. I breathed slowly, and I feel calmer. What’s next?
A. Great! That’s the first stage of reclaiming your body. Every time we breath into to our lungs we stretch our ribs. This in turn creates movement that eases pain and promotes a healthy, functioning torso. Our shoulders are perched on top of our ribs, so guess what? Yep, it can even stretch our shoulders too. We have also began to develop our proprioception. But more about that soon – in the meantime; enjoy a minute out during your day.
Q. Is this meditation, or mindfulness as it’s often known?
A. Yes! It’s practices like this that are well established in more than 250 hospitals in the USA, teaching natural, pain and stress relief techniques.
By giving yourself this space – just a minute – you can reconnect with the breath. One minute is not generally considered a long time, yet it can make all the difference to a stressed-out day. And this is the foundation of pain-free living.
Watch your breath entering and leaving your body. If it helps, imagine you are breathing in white, positive, energising light, and breathing out black, negative smoke. Or make up your own colours – be creative, and enjoy focusing on just the breath.
Notice how it feels. Do your muscles feel soft, or hard? Try to release the muscles on the ‘out’ breath.
Enjoy any feelings of calm. You created them!
© Jon Gee 2011
To read more about the way we combine deep-tissue massage with mindfulness – Stay tuned!