Jaya joined us for today's incubator meeting in which she opened our eyes to the secrets our breath holds. She challenged us to consider our breath in ways that most of us had never before, describing it as a very intimate, personal thing that we have a relationship with. It is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we cease living.
We were guided through a series of breathing exercises. In the first, we were instructed to sit at the edge of our seat and make our knees sink down lower than our hip level. We took one big deep breath in and exhaled for an extended period of time while pointing our finger outwards. One of the participants, Rosalie, related this technique to those she learned while preparing for childbirth. Karen pointed out that this breathing technique is one regularly used with children when teaching them to relax and that it is one that people remember well into their life time. Sadie noted that she received similar instructions when getting piercings, as the emphasis on the exhale is important to relax the body. This extended exhale technique is one that can be used in any situation, without anyone knowing, which was an empowering feature of it.
We also practiced taking one breath in and doing multiple, quick, short, successive exhales. There were mixed reactions to this exercise. Rick noticed it clarified his thinking and relaxed his muscles. It made him feel balanced and ready for anything. On the other hand, Sadie said this technique made her feel sleepy. It was fun to see how this practice inspired a range of feelings in our participants!
We were thankful that Jaya had us step outside of our comfort zone and try something new! We all agreed that mindful breathing can make us feel more calm and more ready to handle panic-situation.
By: Daniella Colombo