Benefits of Consciously Breathing
In our yoga practice we consciously breathe, but the practice I introduced to you this week in class is slightly different. I am training to add this style of Conscious Breathwork into my teachings that is called Numa Somatics. See the definition from Trevor Yelich, from his website
nūma somatics Defined
nūma (pneuma) is an ancient Greek word for both breath and spirit.
Somatics refers to both somatic psychotherapeutics and experiential movement practices.
nūma somatics is a practice that strategically weaves together the transformational power of Conscious Breathwork, deep bodily unwindings of somatic movement explorations, mindful somatic psychotherapeutic investigations, and the medicinal vibrations of sound therapy.
nūma somatics is a psychosomatic therapeutic process, an insightful dive into non-ordinary states of consciousness, and a curious exploration in being fully alive.
If you would like to experience Numa Somatics directly from my teacher, Trevor Yelich, he runs group & private sessions, some at YogaMcc.
go to http://www.trevoryelich.com to see more about what he does.
It may also help to explain more about Conscious Breathwork & it’s benefits.
I am always speaking of the importance of mindfully breathing & how it can affect & change our practice & our life. In Numa Somatics we use a circular breath, along with movement & sounding to help release holding patterns in the body that are both physically & emotionally based. In the 5, 9 hour days I spent with Trevor & 9 other lovely people, we explored & experienced this practice. I found it profound in how it helped me to process some past traumas & after the 5 days, apart from feeling quite tired from all the info & practice, I feel lighter in a way, more unencumbered. It is still a work in progress, but I am excited to learn more so I can share with each of my students.
This week I had everyone use circular breathing, inhale & allow the exhale to drop away, with no pauses between the breaths. First through the nose, which is most familiar for us yogi’s, then through the mouth. The idea is the mouth breathing helps us to connect to the physical body more that nose breathing does. We explored this faster, stronger breathing for about 1 min, then I encouraged us to slow the breath down with a 1:1 breath (equal length of inhale to exhale), but still with no pauses. The faster circular breathing is helping to awaken us to patterns held & then the 1:1 breath is to allow a sense of calm to come back, if the faster breath felt uneasy or difficult in some way. I just wanted everyone to begin to sample this new way of breathing & notice the response without judging good or bad. To know that when we feel things, we are safe,
I used some affirmations in the first person so you can image they are your own thoughts:
“ I am safe to breathe ”
“ I am safe to be in this body ”
“ I am at peace with myself ”
Feel free to find your own affirmations that can be used at any time during your practice or when you need a pause in your life to come back to the present moment.
I had also taken a training a few months back with Christine Wushke, on Myofascia Yoga https://freelyhuman.com.
I had my students this week also use a soft ball & place it on a spot in the body that was getting our attention most. As any students who has taken a class with me can attend, I like to use balls to massage, bring awareness, strengthen & release the body. With this soft ball, we placed it on a part of the body & stayed there for 3-5 min. The intensity should be low, so if it feels too intense, to add some extra support under the body, head, pelvis etc, till the sensation is not too strong. Staying for a length of time encourages the fascia (connective tissue) in the body to release at that point, so when the ball is removed, that area will allow in more blood flow, energy & hydration. Kind of like a sponge after being squeezed allows the water to fill it up again. In this way, the tissues can begin to heal.
I connected the 2, Conscious Breathwork with Myofascia release, as I felt they both had a way to help us to release patterns in our body to help us to find healing. In both practices, I find moving mindfully, as we do in our yoga practice helps us to move through these awarenesses that came up through the breath & fascial work. So these 2 practices can change how our yoga poses feel, but more importantly, how we feel in our bodies. When we feel different in our bodies, we feel different in our life & how we react to what happens in it.
So thank you to those of you that explored these new practices with me this week. As I always encourage, when you explore with an intention of awareness, compassion & ease, what arrises can be met as if receiving a guest into your home. When acknowledged they are there & not run away or push them away, they will change. After we spend a moment in "conversation" with these sensations, we can ask them to leave & gently close the door behind them. When we spend time in awareness, without going into the story of why they are there, these sensation begin to change, become less powerful & may even not come back as often, or at all. We used a Yoga Nidra Meditation at the end of class to help us integrate all that come into our awareness throughout our class together.
In the teachings from Richard Miller on Yoga Nidra (he calls rest) https://www.irest.us, he states:
"iRest is integrative, in that it heals the various unresolved issues, traumas, and wounds that are present in the body and mind. It is restorative in that it aids its practitioners in recognizing their underlying peace of mind that is always present amidst all changing circumstances of life.”
I used a body sensing version of Yoga Nidra that reminds us that we are not all that we experience, but are healthy, happy & whole in our True Nature. We ended with Yoga Nidra body sensing with a reminder of our Inner Resource (safe place).
- visualize a place in your mind (a place in nature, your home, with loved ones…) where you can feel safe, at ease & joyful. Staying here or go through you body connecting with sensation. Start at mouth, then ears, nose, eyes, crown, back of head, neck, shoulders, arms/hands, chest/upper back, belly/low back, hips, legs/feet. Anytime exploring sensation in the body feels too much or overwhelming, picture your Inner Resource again & go to that safe haven. The more you can make this Inner Resource real, the more your body will feel as if you are there & respond by relaxing & letting go.
Remember, anything you notice do no judge or shy away from. This is not who you are, it is just sensation (physical, mental & emotional). Sensation is just energy, not good or bad, it just is.
So this weeks blog was about some of my inspirational teachers, & how I feel they connect with each other in the message on how we can work with what we feel in our bodies, minds & emotions. In each, one more breath focused, one more physical & one more on meditation/mind, how all is connected & one part can not be worked on without affecting the other.
I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from each of them & how they have helped to shape me in my own practice, as the teacher I am & will become. Life is always about learning & I thank each student I learn from everyday. For each of you, I am forever grateful.
Anne Cox E-RYT 500