Saturday, January 23, 2016

Learning to Breathe

Who would have thought this was what I needed to learn?

I had a private swimming lesson on Thursday.  On Wednesday I had an epiphany about why my breathing was a problem.  It had to do with my placement of my left arm while I was breathing on my right, but after my lesson I was shown it was also about the timing of my right arm catching the water.

I had a huge aha moment once I got the timing figured out, and I was moving more effortlessly through the water rather than stalling each time I took a breath on the left side.

In yoga learning to breathe in the right way through the different poses and flows has always been a challenge for me.  I seem to be forever breathing in when the instructor is telling me to breathe out, and vice versa.

I blame it on my right/left confusion.  Maybe I also have an in/out confusion?

And then yesterday I was reading a book my counsellor suggested and lo and behold there was a section on self care and BREATHING.

So, three times this week in different areas I was focused on breathing.

Yesterday I went for a Korean spa and spent much of the time breathing.  Breathing deeply to relax. Breathing deeply to stay with the heat.  Breathing deeply so I didn't faint (too long in the hot tub).

I realized how ironic this post is when you look at the title I chose for this blog of mine.

Breathing Life.

Science books will tell you that breathing is a non-voluntary reflex.  We can't help but breathe.  Our bodies are made to do it.

Science books don't tell you that in times of stress, or grief we do not automatically breathe well, or efficiently, or sometimes at all.

That takes focus.  That takes practice.  That takes vigilance.  That takes awareness.

So today I will go to the pool and practice breathing.

Tomorrow I will go to yoga and practice breathing.


Now I will practice taking slow, deep, deliberate breaths.

Because if I don't?

If I don't I feel like I will die.


  1. Yes... Do that... Fill yourself with life... Xxx

  2. Breathing is not as simple as you think. Hope you took some deep breaths today.

  3. Breathing deeply,consciously filling up your lungs and using your diaphragm(what a ridiculously spelled word) is recommended as a daily practice for good health (as long as you don't overdo it and hyperventilate!) As an asthmatic, my breathing has often been more a conscious effort than of a non-voluntary activity at different times. Like any physical skill, it takes practice to learn new ways and develop new muscle memory etc. Stick with it. Swimming and singing and wind instruments are great activities for developing breath control and the self awareness that goes along with it. It is interesting that you discovered it isn't just the lungs and diaphragm that are involved in breathing but other muscle groups as well as you have discovered with your arm placement. This doesn't surprise me - I have a musician in the family who uses neck, shoulder, face, back and other muscle groups which all contribute to air support and breath control. There is always something new to learn, isn't there? Your original advice is good: just breathe. :-)

  4. There is nothing that is easy, we just make some things look easy with hard work and practise. Keep practising!

  5. If my years of flute and singing lessons taught me something, it's that breathing properly is anything but natural, even if it's a reflex.

    1. True that. We all breath, but rarely do we breath properly.


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