Every emotion is connected with the breath. If you change the breath, change the rhythm, you can change the emotion~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Your emotions express through your breath. When you are sad, you tend to sigh a lot. Anger results in a breath that is rapid and when fear is our emotion, our breathing becomes quite shallow. Paying attention to how you breathe can help you identify unconscious reactions to your environment. It can also help you learn how to reverse engineer your emotions with your breath and generate balance and calm when stress and anxiety overwhelm you.
The following article by Breathwork pioneer and therapist, Catherine Dowling is an interesting look at the relationship between the breath and emotions. It is the first step to establishing a working relationship between your emotions and your breath. Once you have an understanding of what the breath is telling you about your emotional state, you can then learn how to use your breath to shift your emotions.
Here is an excerpt from the article that you can read in full here:
“My experience as a therapist tells me that the source of our emotions can be complex. In addition to the physical components, emotions are frequently linked to old memories and unconscious beliefs and attitudes. Plumbing these depths alone can be daunting. But the element of our emotional responses that we can easily manage by ourselves is breathing.
To elicit joy, ‘Breathe and exhale slowly and deeply through the nose; your breathing is very regular and your ribcage relaxed’. Deep, slow breathing into the belly is strong medicine for anxiety, fear and anger. In the midst of strong emotion, the breathing of joy can loosen the grip of anger, fear or despair. Deep belly breathing soothes frayed nerves and stills a racing mind. It can be utilised to great effect in times of stress. But the real key to managing our emotional states through breathwork is regular practice. We need to practice breathing techniques like the breathing of joy, not just when we’re in the grip of strong feeling, but daily, as a routine, much like brushing our teeth.”
On a daily basis, take the time to become aware of your breath by engaging in a short time of deep relaxed breathing. You will build this as a tool to use in times of stress:
• Find a quiet place and set aside a short time just for you
• Begin by breathing in and out normally. With each breath cycle, relax your abdomen, back and rib cage.
• Become aware of the sensation of your inhalations and exhalations – note the quality of each breath (is it of short duration? Does it feel irregular?)
• Continue to breath until your breath flow feels deep and smooth
• Let your focus on the breath bring you into the quiet present moment and anchor that feeling and sensation in your body and mind.
Check out this excellent article to learn how to make the breath your healing ally for such emotions as anger, anxiety, sadness and depression.
Whenever you are invited to a reactive behavior, you can use your breath to restore balance. Developing a breathing practice is key to your inner peace and ultimate wellbeing. It is a gift for these troubled times that costs nothing and only asks that we stay aware.