Do you forget about your breath when you’re not consciously setting time aside for Breathwork? As soon as you walk out the door, boom, you no longer can remember that you’re even breathing? If so, you’re not alone. It's easy to forget about our breaths because the simple act of breathing is already an unconscious behavior, which means we don’t really need to think about it. Whilst this behavior is necessary to keep us alive, bringing our awareness back to the breath when out in public or while engaging in an activity, can help us recharge and reconnect with our intuition.
But how do we bring back the awareness to our breaths when out in public or when we’re not consciously practicing Breathwork?
Here's how you can tune in to your breath in a few common scenarios.
Scenario #1: At the grocery store
How to tune in: as you’re walking towards the entrance of the grocery store, begin bringing to mind all the delicious and nutritious food you’ll be stocking in your kitchen. As you’re walking past the aisles picking up your food, breathe the essence of that specific food. For example, say you picked up apples, as you feel the apple in your hands, breathe in how eating this apple will make you feel; calm, whole, relaxed? You can inhale and exhale through your nose and if you want to go deeper you can close your eyes. Practice doing this with everything you pick up at the grocery store and at the end, see how different you feel.
Scenario #2: While hanging out with friends
How to tune in: while in a conversation about a passionate or engaging subject, begin to breathe in that energy by taking a deep sigh of relief. Begin to see how two different energies can collide together to bring love, compassion, and perhaps vulnerability. Observe how the frequency of vulnerability can propel togetherness. When we see that we're not alone in our struggles or path, we can more easily create change. If you’re wanting to go even deeper, hold hands, look at each other's eyes and begin breathing in that energy. Take note of how it feels to connect with others on such a deep level. What did you notice in each other?
Scenario #3: While reading a book in bed
How to tune in: start by bringing your awareness to your belly, seeing how the in-breath expands the belly and the out-breath passes through the nostrils. As you breathe out, feel the subtlety of your breath touching your upper lips. This exercise will bring you relaxation and a sense of well being.
Scenario #4: While watching a movie
How to tune in: begin by focusing your attention on the characters of the movie. How are they breathing? Does their breathing change in relation to the way they are expressing themselves? Focusing on the way others breathe in relation to their environment and activity, helps you bring awareness to your breath with neutrality. This is a great exercise for those of you who may struggle with sitting still with your breath. If you’ve never done Breathwork before, this will also be a great place to start.
Scenario #5: Going out on a hike/walk
How to tune in: begin by bringing breath to movement; one foot forward is one breath in and the other foot forward is one breath out. Continue in this rhythm, focusing on your feet and its contact to the earth. If any thoughts emerge, try to bring your awareness back to your feet and the earth. This is a form of Vipassana meditation and can be done whenever you feel like focusing on the present moment.
Scenario #6: While running errands
How to tune in: observe your breath before heading outside of the house by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Then, set the intention that with every place you go, you’ll take a sigh of relief -- either before you get out of your car or before you walk into a store/location. This exercise will help you relax as it sends the relaxation signal to your nervous system.
Scenario #7: While driving
How to tune in: driving can be a form of therapy if you allow it to be. If we think of the five elements of nature, air signifies communication and so when we drive, the air transmutes itself into wind. If we feel like there’s any communication issues that we’re facing, the wind can help us. Whenever I’m going through obstacles that feel hard to overcome or that is difficult to communicate to others, I drive. What you can do - open the windows of your car and begin bringing your awareness to the way the wind hits your face. Breathe into the sensations the wind may be giving you. How can you let things go?
Have you noticed that with almost all these exercises, most of the ways in which you’ll tune into your breath involves you associating it with another activity? “When I do x, I’ll do y” - We try to do this because it helps the brain to more easily form a habit. If you can begin framing your Breathwork practice in this manner, in just a few weeks you’ll see yourself tuning into your breath in public unconsciously.
This association technique goes for any habit that you'd like to start implementing into your life!