The MBD Podcast 004 Transcript: Benefits of Breathing Practices & Supporting Meditation

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

Here is this weeks MBD Podcast Transcript.

Music included in this weeks episode:

Breathe - Performed by Delilah

Eric Satie's Premier Gymnopedie - Performed by Alexandre Tharaud

(Lyrics and iTunes links are to be found in text below)




Hi!

I’m Deborah Wiggins-Hay - the MBD.


I wanted to spend a bit of time today talking to you about breathing.


Obviously it is a fundamental practice and something we need to do continuously in order to stay alive, because every cell in the body requires oxygen in order to fulfil its function.


Not only do we breathe in and out of our body, our lungs; but every cell in every tissue in every organ requires oxygen at a cellular level.

So every cell in our body is actually breathing!


So when we think of it like that, we can see how important it is for us to be breathing well and to be receiving good quality oxygen into our body!


But breathing has been a spiritual practice since the beginning of time!


Many Ancient Spiritual Traditions include Breathing Practices

Since humans having been searching for some sort of ‘inner balance’ within themselves; since humans have been striving to make a connection with an aspect or energy that is bigger’ than themselves, breathing has been an aspect of practice in many spiritual and religious practices.


The important thing is, not only does it work in terms of our spiritual connection, in terms of our physical body maintaining its optimal health, but it is fundamentally important in terms of the energy that moves through our body, and also us being able to come to a very ‘centred’ place in our minds.


So YES - breathing is important for the body cells, and their function. But breathing has a fundamental impact on the central nervous system (CNS), and the flow of information through our body - it has an affect on the electromagnetic function of our body and the communication within our body; but it has an affect (via the CNS) on our hormones and the information that is allowing hormones to be ‘overseen’ and ‘orchestrated’.


The information received through the CNS is interpreted through the brain and through that interpretation, the body adjusts its hormonal and biochemical changes. Changes that can affect our emotions, how we feel, and how our organs are functioning.


Oxygen is important on a practical level for the functioning of our organs, but also to balance the CNS and to regulate the information moving through the body (moving through the electromagnetic and Central Nervous System), in terms of our hormones and the biochemical changes of the body: all are impacted with the breath.


On top of that, those changes have a significant Impact on our brain function. Through the ability of our brain being able to ‘think clearly’ and ‘have a clear mind’, we are also able to view our problems, and our inner world, through a new perspective, from a place where our body is in a very balanced state.


When our hormones and biochemical state is balanced, there is less emotional impact upon our thinking!

It takes our mind to a place where we can be in a conscious, clear and focused state, which is unaffected by emotional or biochemical feedback from the body.


To put that into perspective, when our body is operating with high levels of stress hormones, the body is already in a pre-prepared state to receive information that it already perceives will be dangerous.


The information is ‘expected’ to be detrimental (or dangerous). Because we are already in a heightened stress state, the body is already switched ‘on’ to receive information that it perceives as potentially dangerous. In that heightened state of ‘potential danger’, the body is already primed to hone in and pick up on anything it thinks is dangerous. (This shifts our focus to intentionally source and find negative, scary or frightening signs in our environment).


Hyper vigilance feeds the fear!

Imagine, being in a heightened, hyper vigilant state - you are in the house on your own, and you hear a creak or noise…that little creak or noise ‘means’ more, because we are in a heightened state of danger. The creaking noise - is potentially “someone or something that will (we believe) cause us harm”!



The Internal & External Environment Mirror each other!

We are already in a state of anxiety and fear, and therefore the information that we are picking up from our external environment is fed into the body (which is in a heightened state) and is perceived by the brain as something potentially dangerous.

This heightens our state of anxiety even further.

This (‘feedback’ of) information goes in a cycle taking us into more anxiety and fear.

(This is the premise that horror movies are built upon)


Music Interlude by Delilah

"Breathe"

Lyrics

"I am strong when I'm quiet

I never let you see me stall

I can hate what you say and still smile

Only play on an open court

I am the ringleader of my own circle

Fall on my knees and I won't bleed

Set me on fire and I'll fall to sleep

The pain of my scolds sets me free

I can not Breathe (yeah)

Let me be free (yeah) from myself

Drown me in silence and suddenly I'm floating

I rip me apart with one look

Use my heart as a crutch for my ego

And hope that I never never fall in love

I can not Breathe (yeah)

Let me be free (yeah) from myself

I must survive

This wonderful punishment called life

Use my heart and unravel it

My innocence is all gone

Torn apart and I can't handle it

My innocence is all gone

I can not Breathe (yeah)

Let me be free (yeah) from myself

I must survive

This wonderful punishment called life

This wonderful punishment called life"


The biological and biochemical information that we ‘hold’ in our body, has a major effect on HOW we see things, and what we perceive.


(Post publication note: “my innocence is all gone - I can not breathe...let me be free” - the plea of one. Who has not found the space to breathe, who feels constructed and knows their state of ‘innocence‘ is at risk, as past fears and hurts become ever more burdensome! Yet at the same time there is a recognition that in this constructed state there is a possibility for something ‘wonderful’ - that this is where there is a possibility for life to grow and expand.)


What is 'perception'?

What we perceive (means) what we believe we are seeing, what we believe we are hearing.

It is the BELIEF that forms how we are seeing something or perceiving something that has the effect (on our biology).

Which means that the ‘creak’ in our environment, the thing causing the fear and anxiety, may simply just be a creak, (no more than a noise).


It only means something more (dangerous) because we have attached that meaning (of danger) to it.


So through the breath, we are able to take our biology into a place where that biochemical information, and the transportation of the information through the system is happening in a very balanced way!


So this ability - to be able to auto regulate, to be able to take ourselves, our body and our mind, to a state of inner calm & of inner balance. To a ‘zero ground’ where we are not overly excited, overly passionate; where we are not in a state of anxiety or fear; but where our body is in a very calm, very balanced, ‘zero-point’ place.

This is a very useful state for us to be able to take our body into, so that when we do have emotional or psychological issues we want to be working with…


And when I say ‘psychological issues’ I mean issues around how we see things, or perceive things in our life. This might be the sorts of thoughts and perceptions that we have which we innately understand are not helpful to us. The negative thinking based upon beliefs that we know are not bringing us happiness, understanding or any sense of calm. We already know these thoughts are potentially harmful for us! So being able to go into this centred, 'still' space (through our breathing) is important for us to be able to address our emotional and our psychological states.


To this end, breathing practices have been important for spiritual advancement, not least because these types of breathing practices allows us to have an interaction with the world that allows us to step back back from our immediate emotional and psychological responses.


Musical Interlude performed by Alexandre Tharaud

Premiere Gymnopedie Composed by Eric Satie


Space

These practices provide a ‘space’ between where we are and the thing/people/experiences that are happening around us. And sometimes it is simply the ‘space’ thats require to be able to take a breath, step back, look at actually what we have seen, heard, felt and to take that information into ourselves in a way which is disconnected from our previous fear, anxieties or preconceived thoughts. And like the 'creaking sound’ in the room, if we take a step back, we may be able to see or hear that creaking noise (or interaction with a person, or an event) in a different way - without the anxiety or fear - that might otherwise make it seem a bigger or more painful experience than it actually is, or it was meant to be.


This breathing space between us and how we see or experience the world around us allows us to have an interaction with the world where we can be free from those thoughts or feelings that can cause us to be more afraid, or to experience the world in a more stressful way. It creates the space for us to build new relationships, new understandings from a place where our mind is clear, and our body is no longer filled with hormonal responses that can cause our body to behave in ways we aren’t able to control!


So breathing practices are

- an essential aspect of improving our physical health - through improving the transportation of oxygen to every cell in the body

- an important aspect of our psychological health - in terms of being able to take our mind into a place of calm and peace

- an important emotional skill - because they enable us to experience the world from a place where our mind is much calmer

- practices that allow and create a ‘space’ - allowing us to react from a much more authentic space within ourselves. From the centre of who we are, in this place, in this moment - right now! And from the core of who we are without our fears, without extreme emotional reactions, in a place where our body is calm and balanced.


Being true to who we are!

And we are able to be TRULY WHO WE ARE, when we are connected to our heart, and connected to the truth of who we are and where we are at that time.

And it is the practice of being ‘true to who we are’ in this moment of time, without all of our fears - these ‘heavy burdens’ that we accumulate through life because of past experiences that we bring into this moment now, and allow those to have an affect on our relationships and interactions - when we develop these breathing practices, we can begin to break these past patterns that are causing us to react and to respond in ways that we wish we didn’t. In the easy that we would rather we didn’t...!

Through this practice of ‘space’...of breathing...

Through this practice we cultivate a more balanced reflection of what is actually happening in this moment.

We see people who are able to respond in this way as being more connected to themselves!


These practices create a ‘space’ around a person that begins to have an impact on the energy of that person, and the ‘space’ within which they exist; and this is a really ‘felt’ change of energy, that people around them become aware of.


They become aware of this more balanced calm energy, and subsequently the people around them begin to see that person as being different.

They see the space created around that person by their breathing practice. They feel that space and they feel that calmness that is created through the space that comes with those breathing practices!


So not only do those breathing practices create space internally within the person (practicing) and change the way they interact with the world around them; but when a person practices those breathing practices the people around THEM experience that person differently!


A Peaceful Spirit

People around them begin to experience this sense of space, clam and peace that exists around that person!

We tend to call that type of person a more spiritual person.

(In reality we are all spiritual - we are all mind body and spirit.

Our spirit makes us who we are.

My spirit makes me ME and your spirit makes you YOU!

And we all have it, and we are all different.

It is the unique aspect that sits within each of us. But the point is that when we practice these breathing practices we are improving our mind, body, focus, and our emotional and spiritual life in every area.


The Supporting Meditation

The following meditation is a simple support for you to begin the practice of heart breathing.


Heart Breathing is a simple practice which you can do each day - and will have an affect in the areas that I have just discussed.

The most important premise of this breathing practice is to



STEP 1: Begin to breath in and out to a regular count. You don’t need to use a stopwatch or time yourself, but in your mind create a ‘count’ (of either 1-4 or 1-5) and begin to develop your breathing to breath evenly in and evenly out.

e.g.:

Breath IN for 5

Breath OUT for 5


STEP 2: Begin to regulate the breath so that there is not a fast hard breath IN for the first 2 seconds, and the breath subsequently kilters out in the last 2-3 seconds of the IN breath. Try to draw the breath in an even way across the count of 5.

When you exhale, send the breath out of your body in a consistent fashion, so that there is not a huge rush of air OUT for the first few seconds and then none for the last few seconds; but so that the exhale is consistent and lasts for the WHOLE of the 5 seconds.


STEP 3: Expansion. As you develop the practice more, try to expand your lungs to their fuller capacity in the 5 seconds inhalation; and during the exhalation make sure the lungs are fully deflated, with all the air taken out in the 5 second exhale. And do this in a fashion where the breath feels equal. Where the POWER of the breath IN feels the same as the POWER of the breath OUT.


This can sound complicated, and I have noticed that for some people this can take some time to master.

So this following meditation is to simply BEGIN the practice of counting the breath in and out in an equal manner.


It is a ‘Practice’

I urge you to slowly practice this over a period of weeks and months, to work on developing this ‘even nature’ of the breath. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work initially, and if the breath is erratic in length or strength - just keep the idea of this calm spreading movement of breath IN and OUT in your conscious awareness, and then with practice you can begin to improve that.


HeartMath Tools

Lastly, HeartMath have some fantastic tools to help you understand what is happening with your breath and your biology. Their electronic tools provide records of feedback that allows you to see how much your body is changing and improving with this type of breathing practice.


If anyone is interested and wants to know more about their products, then do look online at https://www.heartmath.co.uk/ and if you would be interested in buying those products, contact me as I may be able to secure a good discount for you through my practice.

If you want to understanding how to work with them a little better, and how these types of breathing practices can help you to overcome your own anxieties and fears, then please do reach out and contact me.


I can provide these HeartMath tools for you on a 1-2-1 basis (if you are in the UK).


I am a HeartMath provider and 1-2-1 HeartMath Coach.


However, you can still practice without electronic tools - so I hope you enjoy the following support meditation to begin your breathing practices:


“Heart Breathing" - If you wish to go straight to the meditation, please start listening at 32:14


Link fo this weeks podcast:

Catch todays Podcast on BeanPod or iTunes

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