Breathing Some workshop notes
Breathing involves over 104 joints and 60 muscles.
Breathing evolved as we subjected ourselves to the full force of gravity and atmospheric pressure. Therefore, posture and breathing are one, in a form and function context. Posture and breathing are inextricably linked.
Good breathing is good posture and visa versa.
The movement of breath throughout the body is one of expansion and contraction and naturally moves in all 6 planes throughout the torso. However, it’s very common to only move in just a few. The very common practice of reducing the number of planes of movement in breathing has many implications, one of which is the displacement of weight affecting balance. So, it’s common to see people hold their breath when footing is precarious or on a narrow high path and in extreme cases reducing oxygen to the brain causing dizziness.(A physical basis for a fear of heights, which is usually blamed on something else of a psychological nature.)
Posture Patterns & Breathing
Imposing patterns, postures and ideals on top of faulty modes of action will achieve little and probably only serve to exacerbate the situation. Such a rich, dynamic, multilevel and complex human function as breathing is poorly served by doctrine or how to techniques. Language, written or spoken is far too linear. It’s very rare to see the entire rib case available for breathing (intercostal cooperation) and most people use the rib case as part of their personality – to project their social statement or mask into the world. We have large air bags in our chests (lungs) and it would seem obvious that any type of bending or movement in general will be greatly affected by whether these air bags are inflating or deflating (breathing in or breathing out).
However, it’s rare to see breathing well coordinated with movement or fully cooperating with intention. The difference in regards to efficiency is astounding and the astonishing thing is that almost no one notices!
With the multitude of structures within the body related to breathing the quality and completeness of their function will be largely proportional to the quality and completeness of being.
Autonomic Nervous System & Breathing
Breathing alters in response to everything, our moving, heart rate, emotions, and even our thinking. These changes in breathing come largely from our autonomic nervous system. It follows, that to reorganise our breathing will give us some control or choice over our autonomic nervous system functioning. When we are excited we generally have slightly higher oxygen levels (in the blood) and when we are relaxed, slightly higher carbon dioxide levels. The many different schools of meditation or breathing techniques can be divided into these two chemical conditions. . The carbon dioxide/ oxygen balance also effects blood ph which, when alkaline, leaves the muscles in a state prone to spasms and cramps. This can result in all kinds of pain and discomfort. Working on the location of the pain will give temporary relief at best but makes cure elusive.
Three Diaphragms
We hold our breath for many reasons one of which is to reduce sensations including pleasure! There are several functional diaphragms throughout the body apart from the one the heart rests on at the base of the lungs. In this workshop we will pay some attention to the one at the very top of the chest and neck area and the one that is the pelvic floor. The pharynx/thoracic diaphragm affects the quality of the voice, the efficiency of coughing, sneezing, swallowing and so on. Anything to do with movement of liquids and gasses in and out, up and down. The pelvic floor diaphragm functions to control the movement of liquids, gases, elimination and many aspects of sexual function. Without the pelvic floor being available to function as a diaphragm, if it is being fixed or held, incontinence and or constipation issues along with sexual and pleasure problems are more than likely to occur.These three diaphragms work together as a pumping station. The qualities of your voice, continence and sexuality obviously have a large influence on your quality of living for your whole life.
Breathing as a Social Function
Breathing is a social function. We shift our breathing patterns, rate, rhythm, depth, frequency and physical locations in response to the people around us. To vary from this too much has an alienating effect. It can cause us to misfit (usually well below our conscious awareness), this phenomenon is shared by all mammals who live in groups, tribes or herds.
With so much involved with breathing words are not particularly useful and imposing techniques from a conscious stand point will do little if anything to improve the situation. The explorations and experiences we will engage in during this workshop are to offer your nervous system more and more options, so you may discover things that expand your quality of expression and living —
Breath easy…. 600 million times in your lifetime