Thank you to everyone who took part in our 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge this January. We caught up with Breathwork instructor Georgie to learn more about her gratitude journey and how it led her to discovering the power of the breath...

 

Gratitude....I’m always interested in the exact definition of such broad terms. Here’s what I found;

Gratitude is a warm feeling of thankfulness towards the world, or towards specific individuals. The person who feels gratitude is thankful for what they have, and does not constantly seek more.”

Thankful for what they have, and does not constantly seek more got me thinking how results driven we are conditioned to be in the western world from as young as our early school years. That’s certainly the way I was brought up, to keep achieving, to keep getting more and more qualifications, material items, romantic relationships and then I’d be deemed a “successful” human then, I assumed, I’d be happy. As I stepped into my big girl grown up shoes I discovered that wasn’t the case. That seeking fulfilment from outside of myself was a never ending journey of constant anti-climactic disappointment. Nothing was ever enough. I was waiting to ‘make it’ or ‘find it’ not knowing that what I was looking for was within myself the entire time. I was chasing what I thought I needed so much, I was missing out on the journey. I was hurtling so quickly towards the next thing, I never stopped to appreciate what I already had or to lean into exactly what I was experiencing. I was in a living in a state of stress and it was EXHAUSTING.

Then I started to discover spiritual practises, mainly breath work along with some yoga and tai chi, and all the wonderful souls that come with them. The basis of such practises is to exist in what is with total acceptance and appreciation, to simply be in the present moment, knowing that that is enough. These practise’s, breath work especially, allowed me to experience life at a slower pace, to find space and experience the beauty of silence, the idea of less is more.

Phillip Shephard, the creator of The Embodied Present ProcessTM (TEPP), said in the embodiment conference earlier this year; ‘As you feel gentleness with your breath, you come into a gentler relationship with yourself.’

This is how I feel whenever I practise the same breath work I teach. Effortless, embodied breathing. Breathing to serve our bodies and minds rather than fighting against them. Each time I come back to my breath I learn to dance with the present moment with more acceptance for what is, I learn to appreciate that which is abundant in my life. Nature, water, love, joy and of course the air we breathe.

The archaic definition of breath is the power of breathing; life.

It’s undeniable that the power of the breath has been well known and practised for thousands of years by many different cultures around the world, with some ancient practises such as the art of Qi gong, dating right back to around 2,000BC in China. Around 400 B.C.,it is said that the Buddha taught the importance of silence and stillness and going within to experience the breath.

The fact that breathing is a life-force energy is nothing new, the only difference is in today’s world we have access to the science and technology to prove it. So now, there’s literally no excuse. Countless studies continue to show the positive effects of breathwork. A 2016 NYT article reported that controlled breathing has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system and that regular breathing practises can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. 1

The next question is, what exactly is breathwork? Before you start practising wild, advanced breathing techniques such as the Wim Hof method or Bahya Kumbhaka, a fancy word for exhale retention, I would advise that the best place to start is with a practise that will help you become more aware or more conscious. Simply learning to observe your breathing along with any thoughts feelings and sensations as well as learning to lighten the breath to balance the nervous system and calm the body. For the simple reason that until you know what you’re working with how can you even begin to learn how to use it? You wouldn’t drive a car before gaining an understanding of how that car works and moves, the same goes with the breath. The more aware you become of your own body and mind, the more you understand what you need from your breathing practise.

See a few simple exercises below that might help get you started on your breathing journey or come along to Breathwork classes with Digme at Home.

Coherent breathing:

1. Sitting upright or lying down, place your hands on your lower two ribs and bring a feeling of relaxation to the body.
2. Placing the lips together with the tongue resting on the roof of the mouth, slowly breathe in through the nose, expanding your lower ribs, to the count of five.

3. Pause.
4. Slowly breathe out of your nose to the count of six.
5. Work your way up to practicing this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes a day.

Breathe light to breathe right:

1. Sitting upright or lying down, place your hands on your lower two ribs and bring a feeling of relaxation to the body.

2. Placing the lips together with the tongue resting on the roof of the mouth, slowly breathe in and out through the nose, bringing all of your awareness onto your breathing.
3. Start to make your breathing a little lighter, quieter and softer to the point where you feel a comfortable hunger for air (the feeling that you’d like to take a slightly bigger breath)

4. Begin the deepen your breath, finding a lateral expansion of your lower ribs on the in hale and a natural sense of relaxation on the ex hale , remember to keep your breathing gentle. A DEEP BREATH DOES NOT MEAN A BIG BREATH.
5. Continue breathing effortless, light, deep breaths and observe any sensations in your body. You may find you feel warmer, calmer or more coherent.

6. Work your way up to practising this breathing pattern for 10-20 minutes per day. Keep breathing,

Love Georgie x

 

Lorna Elliott
LORNA ELLIOTT
HEAD OF MARKETING & EVENTS