Fall is about harvest, collecting bounty of the growing season. But we need to make room for that harvest. When our closets and cupboards are full, we need to clean out what we don’t use or need anymore and make room for the new stuff we will use now. So let’s make room for the bounty of our goals in our bodies by letting go of some stuck energy and emotions so we can let in this infinite bounty of love, freedom, happiness, health and whatever it is that you wish for. Let it in with a deep breath and smile, it’s all yours.
But what happens when it doesn’t feel that easy and the last thing on our minds is breathing? We have all heard, “take a deep breath” from a caring friend when we are freaking out. But how often do we actually take that deep breath? As a massage therapist and acupuncturist that has worked with thousands of people, what I see happen over and over again is that even when we are paying someone to help us relax and we are asked to take a deep breath, it is still a less than satisfying forced exhale followed by a hardly full expansive inhale. Even when I give cues to help them breathe for relaxation (deeper and slower, in and out thru the nose and down into the belly) what I often get in return is a confused and frustrated look by the patient that clearly says, you want me to do what?! I’m not paying you to teach me to breath, I’m paying YOU to RELAX ME!
Let’s face it, we are out of touch with our breath and what it can do for us. We have to allow for relaxation in our bodies, it can’t be forced in by someone else, even if they are really good at what they do;-)
Fall is a great time to connect with our breath because this season rules the Lungs and they are what we use to breath in all that crisp, fresh Autumn air. Chinese medicine says that the Lung organs store energy in the form of the emotions of sadness, grief and guilt. The breath is a great way to access the energy and move the stuck emotion that is stored here.
As babies, we were born with amazing belly breathing abilities. When you look at a baby they always have big, round buddha bellies that are always in motion with their breaths. As we get older, things change. We tend to take the weight of the world on our chests and our breath gets suffocated. We unlearn the ways of the baby buddha and instead become more and more stiff with the ever-increasing to-do lists and the burdens of our adult lives. When we don’t choose to be aware of our breath, it tends to get more and more shallow and rapid which perpetuates this “flight or fight” stress response and can even create or maintain anxiety and that claustrophobic feeling within our own body.
As women we have it rough, we aren’t supposed to let our bellies move, let alone breathe deep into them, instead we are told to hold it in and TIGHT. This just isn’t healthy. When the belly doesn’t move, there are severe consequences! The lack of movement reduces the circulation of blood thru the organs which means that they can’t do their jobs of processing, digesting, filtering, releasing, etc., AKA minimizing the pain of our menstrual cycles, keeping your skin glowing and radiant, reducing the stink in your pits, and flattening your belly with less bloating!!!
Many women have trouble with constipation. This is a symptom of an unhealthy Large Intestine, which is the paired organ to the Lungs in Chinese Medicine and is also very much affected by Autumn and grief/sadness/guilt. When we are “slow to go” it can certainly be caused by improper diet but also very much by an emotional holding that doesn’t allow for letting go in our lives, not only emotionally letting go but literally and physically letting go via pooping, hopefully 2-3 times/day.
Breathing is a great way to massage our internal organs and help us poop better. We usually get massaged on the outside of our bodies to smooth out our sore muscles. This is great but it requires someone else’s help. The good news is that we can massage ourselves with our breath to help us relax, rest and digest. We can also think of the breath as massaging the heart between the lungs. So go ahead and give your heart a hug by taking some soothing deep breaths. If that doesn’t smile, the relaxation that comes next certainly will:-)
Grief, guilt and sadness add to that stressful heaviness that restricts the breath even more. So we store and ignore those feelings because we aren’t ready to let go of what happened in the past. When we are hurt by someone, it’s often easier to continue to point the finger of blame than to take responsibility for our half of the relationship and let it go. BUT, It’s not always other people that cause us pain. Sometimes we create this pain for ourselves. We punish ourselves because we make promises to change for the better that we don’t keep. We let ourselves down, and this creates more sadness, distrust, grief, guilt for not succeeding like we wanted to.
It’s hard to deal with things that are painful so we don’t and choose to lock the pain away in our Lungs. The problem with locking up these feelings and throwing away the key is that these blocked off areas in your chest then get neglected and physically stiff which changes how your energy and blood moves in your body. When things are stuck, they tend to get painful physically and a downward spiral of pain and misery sets in. The chest gets tight, our shoulders slump forward, our head juts out like a turtle and our neck and upper back tension screams for mercy. Sound familiar? This posture is exacerbated by computer work, driving and channel surfing. Instead, we want to try to move the energy with the breath to help you let go so it’s easier to shift and let go. When the energy and blood is moving smoothly, we are pain-free, happy and healthy!
The great news is that we can choose to use our breath as a tool. Make that choice for yourself right now, what do you want more of in this moment? Breathe that in, whatever you want and then exhale whatever isn’t serving you, any heaviness or sadness you may feel.
Take Action: What is one specific thing that you’d like to let go of by the end of this month? Pick the thing that you know is in your way of having what you wish for. When you let it go, that freed up energy and relaxed space in your body will create the exact amount of space you need to bring in your goals. If it isn’t coming to you now, that’s ok. Just continue to be open to receiving the messages later in the next few days when you aren’t thinking about it so hard. And anytime you are feeling stressed or catch your breath up in your chest, make the choice to slow it down, drop it in your belly and in and out thru your nose to chill out. Remind yourself that you have a choice to let go of what isn’t serving you and that you can choose to bring in what you want. Revise your goal as the week goes on and add on to your list of what you want to let go of. Once you start letting go, continue making room! Try, once you start, you may be surprised at how good it might feel.
If you want to learn more tools, Lisa and I are here to help you (re)connect with your very own fabulous (and free:-)) ability to create your own relaxation with your breath. And even better, a space to help you let go of what has been bogging you down and keeping you stuck and dissatisfied with your life. Join our Wellness Meditation Audio Membership for only $30/mo. We will provide you with a weekly 15-20 min dose of inspiration, information and guided meditations that will help you to let go, fill up and manifest the life you dream of living. Click here for 1 month of FR*EE audios and try it for yourself. If you listen and participate, you will transform your life.
Welcome yourself home, into your own body:-)