I have learned to breathe! Breathing that works for me and gets me through the pain. Yay!!
Yes! There has been improvement in my back pain. I was told by my beloved Pilates instructor to ‘practice breathing so that it becomes second nature’. But why do I need to be so aware of my breathing when it is meant to be the most natural thing in the world?
When we are busy, stressed, in pain, concentrating on a particular important thing other than breathing, we tend to tense up and subconsciously choose many different ways of breathing that are not always good for us. For me, when I am in pain, or trying to avoid pain, which has been the case this last month or so, the last thing I am thinking about is to breathe, and breathe ‘properly’. It just happens, right? At least it’s something you don’t have to focus on, worry about, with everything else going on! Except it is …
For me, when I tense up I stop breathing, even hold my breath, and that is when things go haywire internally, when the work starts, to get by in the next moments, protecting that painful sensation and doing my utmost to make it stop. What I was doing, before I was enlightened, was the opposite of what I should have been doing. To breathe. Every day activities can cause a tensing up, for no particular reason, like speaking on the phone, and breathing through them is helpful.
I now am aware, so much more, about my breathing, and I have discovered that I do have to practice at it. Breathing in deeply for a few seconds and out for a few seconds, so that the air reaches more parts of my body that count, and I am not just breathing to survive.
I remember an exercise in relaxation when I was about 10, lying down in the school hall, and the teacher coming round and lifting our arms and we were supposed to let them drop naturally. I was one of the ones who rigidly dropped my arm, concentrating, over-thinking, rather than just abandoning it to gravity. And I remember watching as many of the others let their arms go and how their joints did their own thing, folding easily one way or the other as they fell without any fear with a flop to the floor. And I thought, maybe I can be like that one day. One day is now.