Breath becomes movement
The breath pattern is really the first movement we do when we are born, that’s why so many practices centre the cycle of inhaling and exhaling to help us rediscover a connection with our “unspoilt”, primal nature.
The following is one of the most simple, yet liberating movement improvisations you can play with by amplifying your breath and awaken your entire body.
You can be in silence or put some nice and relaxing music on. Wear comfortable clothes and be somewhere with no distractions, a clean floor and not too many obstacles around you.
You can stop at any stage of this process, especially if this feels very new to you, and only progress to the standing part once you are more familiar with the development. Allow yourself at least 10 minutes (or 3 tracks?) but really this could last hours if you wish..
Start laying on your back, close your eyes and fully focus on the places where your breath naturally goes to.
Don’t do anything, just observe it.
Then notice how already there is some movement in the body, just as a consequence of the expansion and contraction of the lungs.
Can you start consciously direct the breath in your right hand and follow that movement, let it amplify? If you get bored or stuck, stay with this a little longer.
Then do the same with the right shoulder. Then breath in your whole back.
Once this patterns feels more familiar let the impulse be wherever it manifests, say yes to whatever comes, as big or as little as it has to be. Notice if you are getting into “performance mode”: if you start thinking about how it looks like from the outside pause and restart small. You can amplify and use your imagination to transform the breath into a more extreme movement of expansion and contraction but whatever you do starts from the real action of breathing and from the real needs of your body, not from your expectations to practice a certain shape.
When you are ready, bring yourself on one side and imagine your body is expanding and deflating like an elastic balloon every time you breathe, may be your arms and legs want radiate symmetrically or asymmetrically from the centre of your body. Allow this pulsation to slowly bring you to seated, then to crawling, and if it feels natural, to stand.
If you can, keep your eyes closed to reduce the interferences from the vision and to help your brain process other subtle information.
Can you feel the breath is giving space to your body? May be that as you inhale and expand you are also reaching out, as you exhale and deflate you are coming back to your centre?
If you feel like, start increasing the intensity and the speed of this action of inhaling/reaching and exhaling/coming back to your centre.
When you feel you have reached a good peak of energy allow yourself to still the movement, either standing or laying on your back.
Notice any changes in your energy or quality of your breath, any physical sensations or emotional shifts.
As the breath quietens can you still feel a subtle internal pulsation?
This can be a beautiful way to either ground, if you feel like moving slowly, or energise your entire system if you let the pattern become automatic as you ride the wave of your breath in and out of the floor or around the space.
Please let me know how it feels!