For those of us who have done yoga, pilates, or Somato Respiratory Integration or any type of therapeutic breath-work, the idea of the breath moving throughout the body may be somewhat intuitive. We are often told to breathe “into our bellies” for relaxation, or breathe into the area of tightness, restriction, or pain in order to help the healing process.
Others of us have wondered how we’re supposed to direct the breath anywhere in the body besides the lungs. How can we “breathe into the sacrum”? How does breath “move up the spine”?
The simple explanation is that breath is constantly moving all over the body, not just in the air we inhale, but as oxygen being carried by the blood. With every inhalation and beat of the heart, blood is carrying necessary oxygen to the various muscles, tissues, and organs of the body.
By consciously “breathing into” an area of the body, our brain is connecting to the reality that at that very moment the circulatory and energetic systems of the body are making sure the painful area is connected to the whole.
Sometimes when we’re in pain or our muscles are tight, the way we focus on that part of the body is as a problem—something separate and almost outside of ourselves. That feeling, of an inherent problem or separation in the body, is the feeling we have in stage one of SRI—Donald Epstein’s 1st of the 12 stages of healing.
It is okay—even productive at times, to be in a feeling of suffering or seperateness in our bodies. The problem comes in getting stuck in that feeling.
Consciously bringing the breath to that area helps the brain find these disconnected parts of ourselves.
Focusing on the blood that is moving into and nourishing our bones, muscles, and internal organs helps us realize the interconnection within ourselves. That feeling of that interconnection is necessary for true healing to occur.