musings and somatic explorations

Heart Flower, a nature meditation is an article that I wrote for my friend and colleague, Susannah Steers’ Moving Spirit Pilates blog site:

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somatic exploration: “One Lung Breathing”

In my own personal movement practice, breath awareness has been a very important tool in helping me learn how to be more fully present in my body.

I offer this breath exploration, “one lung breathing,” as a possibility for you to experience the fullness and support that your own breath can provide you. Please adapt the exploration to suit your interest – allow ease and enjoyment to be your guides.

Find a place to sit, stand, or rest comfortably and quietly for a few minutes with minimal distractions. Allow yourself to be aware of your posture and notice any areas of tension in your body. Just notice, with interest rather than judgement.

Allow your attention to follow your breath and notice what your breath feels like. Where does it start? What is moving when you breathe? Is it sticky, fluid, deep, shallow, tense, quiet, full…? Acknowledge these sensations and descriptions for yourself.

When you are ready, invite 2-4 deep, easy, slow breaths, perhaps as if your lungs were a sponge slowly and steadily filling with water as you breathe in and allowing the sponge to be gently wrung out as you exhale. Notice how this feels.

Then bring your focus and attention to one lung, to one side of your ribs (i.e., either the right or left side). The other side is still breathing, you are simply bringing your attention / awareness in one side. Breathe as fully as you can into this side, gently exaggerating and enhancing the breath in this side without straining or forcing it.

As you inhale, feel or imagine this lung filling three-dimensionally, perhaps as if your lung was a parachute catching the wind. Then allow yourself to fully exhale, the parachute emptying fully. Repeat this “one lung” breathing on the same side 2-4 more times. Notice how this feels.

Then repeat this exploration on the other side for an equal number of breaths. Notice any similarities or differences. Notice any sensations that may emerge as you explore this breathing exercise.

Then invite 2-4 full, deep, easy, slow breaths with “both lungs”, both sides. In what ways do these breaths feel similar to the initial deep breaths you experienced? In what ways do these breaths feel different? Attend to your posture and your tension levels. How are they now at the end of this exploration in comparison to your beginning state?

With ease and gentleness, allow the sensory imprint and echo of this experience to support you as you continue with your day.

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