Every person on the planet knows that when a woman is in labour and giving birth to a child, that the constant reminder is to breathe.
Most of the time we don’t even realise that we are holding our breath when we are in pain. When we hurt ourselves or feel a vicious cramp or spasm, we are more likely to swear before we take our next breath. Holding our breath increases muscle tension which in turn increases the pain. If you notice that you are taking short, shallow breaths while in pain, trying to slowly draw out those breaths into longer inhales and exhales may help.
So when we are in the moment of pain and waiting for it to pass or ease, here are some neat little breathing meditation practices to try to relax our bodies:
- Deep breathing – right down to your feet. Breathe in through your nose and imagine you are filling your whole body with air.
- Count each breath until you count up to ten, then start again. This practice is genius because you forget how many repetitions of counting to ten you have done, whereas if you keep counting on, it might stress you as you see the numbers increase how long you’ve been counting for.
- Square breathing – Imagine the outline of a square and each side is a breath. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts and pause for 4 counts.
- Tense all your muscles for a few moments and then release them. Let your body feel really heavy and sink into wherever you are lying or sitting.
- Close your eyes and visualise a quiet favourite place and imagine all the sensations of being there – what you hear, smell, feel, see and taste.
Try practicing these techniques on a regular basis when you aren’t in pain, so that if pain does occur, you have some accessible strategies up your sleeve to act on.
Take good care, Readers. I’ll keep the light on.