How do you breathe when you are feeling calm, peaceful and content?
How do you breathe when you are upset, angry, afraid or in pain?
Every psychological, emotional and physiological state has a corresponding breathing pattern or quality. When the emotional state changes, our breathing pattern changes.
It is said that babies breathe naturally or perfectly. They have not learned to interfere with their nature.
As Life begins to happen, as shocks and traumas, fears and pains occure, changes begin to happen within the flow of the breathing as well. The breath becomes less natural, tensions restrict it. Fearful or painful emotional, physical or psychological states interfere with the natural flow of the breath. Inhibitions, blocks, occur in the breathing.
Emotions like anger, fear, guilt and shame can restrict the breathing. When one holds back an emotion or their expression, one does so by holding their breath. This way of „dealing” with emotions starts at an early age. Actually it is rather avoiding those emotions, instead of dealing with them. In order to hold back emotions or expressions “breath-holding” can be set up, it becomes a habit, the unconscious holding of the breath.
Our breathing system is the only system in the body that is both voluntary and involuntary, conscious and unconscious. It’s totally voluntary and it also happens by itself.
When we consciously breathe with awareness, we make it possible to resolve, integrate and heal previously unresolved issues. This frees up much of energy previously tied up in negative emotions, thoughts, patterns and behaviours.
When your emotional state changes—when you go from a state of fear to a state of comfort—something changes in your breathing. When you are in pain you do not breathe in the same way as when you are experiencing comfort.
When you move from a state of pain or fear to a state of comfort or safety, something happens to your breath. We can observe that. We have all experienced that. The breath automatically reflects and expresses the change in our state.
When we realize that it works the other way too: by changing the way we breathe we can move ourselves from one state to the other.
We can use our breath, when consciously breathing with awareness to release, transform and integrate those supressed emotions.