Take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. I invite you now to…take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. A seemingly simple act, yet how often over the course of a day do I remember to do this? Breathing is one of the most interesting functions of our body. “It is completely subconscious yet we can exert control. It is a muscular act, yet one also controlled by the laws of science that govern molecules of gas. It sustains our life, nourishes our organs, helps expel waste from our body, and can affect our emotional state by acting on our nervous system.” (https://www.gaia.com/article/anatomy-pranayama-understanding-our-breath) Breathing is vitally important to everything about us, but most of the time it lies just under our awareness.

In clinical massage sessions at Body Dynamics, I love to remind clients to breathe deeply as I work the muscles of the body. Holding a compression overtop stubborn, sticky tissue while inviting the client to take a deep breath does often change the tissue. The body lets go, and I imagine that muscle being energized or cleansed with oxygen as it releases what is not needed.

Sometimes I set a timer for 5 minutes before bed and engage in deep breathing. First of all, 5 minutes passes very quickly. Second of all, when I have done this, it really does feel like my insides have been cleansed. I feel very good, totally relaxed, and sleep comes easily. If one function of therapeutic massage is to increase circulation and the parasympathetic nervous system, deep breathing has a similar effect. Stale air is pushed out of the system and new, nutrient rich air is able to come into the nooks and crannies of the body.

I now travel between massage room 7 and the dance studio. On Mondays at 2:15 I am leading a new class called Breathe, Move, Relax. We do a lot of focused breath work, of course, but always start class time with a simple movement warm up from the practice of interplay (www.interplay.org). Throughout this simple warm up we literally “take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh”, perhaps the cornerstone of the practice. We then spend 20-25 minutes trying breathing techniques and noticing what is happening in our bodies. And then we stretch, again paying attention to our breathing. I am really having fun with this class; it is helping me notice my breathing more throughout the week, in all that I do. Please, come join us!