Friday, April 16, 2010

Breathing Wrong

I went for my first ever Breathwork session today with a woman who has been doing this for years. She had contacted me about a trade of energy work for breathwork, and I thought it would be a good idea. I have known for a while that breathwork would be good for me because I have trouble interfacing with the physical world. When under stress or pressure especially, I jump up a bit out of my body and groundedness and then find things like laundry and dishes overwhelmingly difficult. Breath keeps spirit and physical balanced. 

I felt nervous when I got to her place for the session, and so was breathing shallowly. She didn't tell me in time and so I wore my shoes into her session room. Her chairs were white and I was afraid I might get them dirty somehow. I was afraid I had parked in the wrong spot and when I asked her if it was okay, her response was less reassuring as of-course-why-wouldn't-it-be. 

She told me a little about breathwork, we chatted for a little while so she could get a read on where I am, and then she recommended that we work on the physical mechanics of breathing. She told me I am doing it wrong and probably always have. (This is, generally speaking, a bad way to approach me, I am an overachiever who hates to be told flat-out that I am doing something wrong, especially as a diagnosis by an expert.) I have done yoga for years, my initial instructions were very breath-based, and when I meditate I do a good bit of breathing exercises as well. That all is apparently rather irrelevant. 

She worked with me a bit, had me try some things, notice and share my noticing about some things, and I began to realize that my scoliosis really affects the mechanics of my breathing. Even in its much improved state, the closer I got to how I am "supposed" to breathe, the more uncomfortable I became in my spinal musculature and therefore spinal alignment. These noticings were not within her area of expertise, I think. On top of that, I really had trouble isolating my diaphram, probably because so many other muscle groups have learned to compensate for it due to my spinal curvature, and that got frustrating. She seemed a little impatient with my difficulty, or maybe that was just me being overly self-conscious. I found it very hard not to be self-conscious since it is not like I can stop breathing in between lesson points and she was watching and evaluating the rise and fall of various parts of my body as I breathed. 

So in the end, I don't think we will be seeing each other again. Our energies don't really click. I have learned that breath exercises will help to release areas of my spinal musculature that really don't want to release (structural muscles are like that), but I am enjoying my improved energy and functionality now that things have restabilized, so I think I will be shelving this knowledge for a few years until it is time to work on it again.

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