I squirm when yoga teachers instruct me to breathe. Holding my breath quickly becomes uncomfortable and how the hell do you "breathe into your back?"
But I figured out a hack! For me, deep breathing actually requires a counter-intuitive motion, one that at first feels unnatural, but quickly becomes very soothing and powerful.
I'm always looking for free & available tools so that we can all have more sovereignty and self-reliance - so that we can turn to ourselves as our greatest & most effective place of healing.
The best thing about your breath is that you have access to it 24 hours a day, wherever you go. It may be your greatest untapped resource.
The Hack for Deep Breathing:
Instead of breathing in on the inhale and sucking air into your chest, try extending / expanding your stomach on the inhale.
So you purposefully push out your belly, make it nice & full & round when you inhale. It feels different because you're bringing in air into your mouth or nose, while at the same time actively pushing your belly out. Put your hands on your stomach and feel it fill up.
On the exhale is when you pull / suck your belly in. So, up top - through mouth & nose - you're letting the air out, while down below in your stomach you're pulling your guts & ribs in.
Exaggerate these movements while you're getting the hang of it and leave your hands on your stomach to feel the pushing out on the inhale and the pulling in on the exhale.
What do you think? Do you feel your breath traveling deeper than it normally does?
Using Your Breath to Hone Your Intuition:
Looking for insight on a big decision or trying to figure out how you feel about something in your life? Put your hands on your belly, feel it swelling out & pulling in as you breathe, and close your eyes.
You can ask a specific question or more broadly, "What is in my highest good to know or see in this situation?"
Be open to subtle signs - could be a sensation in your body that you may be able to interpret, an image or memory, a soft whisper, or a sense of knowing.
If you get nothing, just feel the sense of calm & peace in your body. Your intuition communicates in alchemical ways and isn't always literal.
Art by Louise Bonnet