By Linda Benkö
I would like to invite you to do a breathing exercise with me. You can do this standing or seated (seated, legs uncrossed, is best if you have low blood pressure).
Feel your feet, the contact with the floor. Straighten your upper body, placing one vertebrae naturally on the other, and pull your shoulders gently a little bit back and down so as to facilitate breathing. You might want to move them in a large circle up, back and down.
Place one hand on your lower abdomen. Just feel your hand and let your breath come to rest. Notice how you inhale and exhale, how you bring the air into your lungs. Release your breath when you exhale.
Try to breathe towards your hand, as if it were the most natural thing in the world (which it is).
If you notice that you are holding your abdomen tight with tense muscles, try to let go and loosen your abdominal muscles. Then your abdominal cavity can move with ease and bulge while you breathe. You can feel the rise and fall with your hand.
Continue to do the same for the next couple of breaths.
If you notice thoughts creeping into your head, try to observe without judgement. You can decide to see these thoughts as clouds under a strong wind -and let the wind blow them away. Or put your thoughts into a drawer temporarily with a promise to take care of them later, if they then still want you or need you to do so.
Breathe a few more times in the suggested way, feel the warmth of your warm hand and how your hand feels the movement of your abdomen.
Then stop and stretch yourself.
Yawn excessively if you feel like it.
Close your eyes for a few moments and notice if and what has now changed in comparison to a few minutes ago.
Linda Benkö lives in Vienna, Austria. She is a a trained breathwork facilitator, teacher for integrative breathgymnastics, trainer for heart coherence and coherent breathing (also known as paced breathing), life counselor and facilitator for seminars to help people explore the pre and perinatal circumstances of their own birth (besides yoga and qigong trainer). She offers breathing sessions online through her virtual “Breathing Café” via zoom. In her group trainings and 1:1 sessions, offered in both German and English, Linda encourages people to exchange ideas about the effect of the breathing exercises in a benevolent framework. Contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about breathing exercises.