Friday, July 09, 2021

Breathing Therapy

My niece, going through a difficult patch with relatives at the moment told us "I've got a therapist, but all she does is tell me to breathe."  I had to laugh aloud, because while this is (likely) an exaggeration, it may not be much of one.

I'm pro-breathing.  I am even pro- breathing exercises, pro- controlled breathing, squared breathing, intentional breathing, remembering to fully exhale, the lot of it.  These do help.  It is good to have your body on your side working for you in a tight spot rather than working against you.  But it is not very instructive about what ails you, and is not very emotionally satisfying.


Christopher B said...

A random thought inspired by the juxtaposition of these two posts ('Artificial World', and 'Breathing Therapy').

It might be that forcing a greater awareness of your physical body has some benefit in pulling you out of whatever 'head space' you're inhabiting. Exercise is reported to have psychological as well as physical benefits.

Grim said...

Breathing is really very helpful in the martial arts, and thus gets transferred into a lot of meditations that arise from religious traditions that have martial arts traditions as a part of them (e.g. Chan Buddhism / Shaolin Kung Fu, many of the Japanese Zen schools). It turns out that it does give you a techne for controlling your experience to some degree, one that can be used to improve physical performance or emotional stability -- and that can, as well, induce altered mental states that allow experience of reality in a different way.

Maybe that is almost enough for most people. A good philosophical grounding would probably make it so. Zen/Chan aren't the only options for this. Stoicism, for example, teaches you to accept that you can't really control anything except your attitude towards what occurs. So here is a set of techniques that will allow you to shape your attitude to the one you decide that you want. And now you can (as the Buddhists say) be in the world without misery.

Obviously that may not suffice in cases where there are serious chemical issues in the brain, but for ordinary people who think they 'need therapy' it might be enough.

stevo said...

I've been breathing since I was very young, and can confirm that it is very beneficial.

Narr said...

As a severely allergic kid I discovered that lying on the floor at night seemed to make breathing a little easier; I even developed something very much like (I learned in a brief exposure to the practice) a deep yoga-style breathing using my diaphragm and belly muscles. It helped me master the continuous breathing technique in my equally brief experience as a student of the trombone.

No yoga or tromboning now, just breathing.

Cousin Eddie