I hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits as we embrace the unfolding of a new year together.
I am excited to share my recent experience leading a transformative breathwork session at Iron Crane Yoga in Tucson, Arizona, where I chose “Expansion” as the theme:
Expansion in our bodies
Expansion in our lives
Expansion in our relationships
Expansion into this new year
Expansion and contraction is the rhythm of the universe and the intended rhythm of your own body.
Everything in the universe works on the principle of contraction and expansion. Things contract and they expand – the atmosphere, the ocean tides. Even our cellular structure works that way, with muscle tissue contracting and expanding to move our body any time we walk, run, or reach for something. It’s the basic movement in our own biology – our lungs, our heart, our cells, all continually contract and expand, contract and expand.
The rest of our lives follow the same movement: our careers, our relationships, and our sense of ourselves all follow a pattern of expanding and contracting.
And here’s the thing: the expanded self is always inside the contracted self.
Somehow, we have this notion as human beings that we are entitled to comfort – no struggle, no pain, no loss, no disappointment. No contraction, only expansion.
But contraction – discomfort, struggle, pain – is simply part of the human condition. There is no expansion without contraction. What we don’t always realize is that the struggle, the difficulty, the challenges in our lives – the contractions – are the very things that lead to the next expansion.
The same is true for our breath – the next inhale is always waiting at the bottom of the exhale.
But what often happens is that we get stuck in the contraction. And over time, we can lose our capacity for expansion. And when we get stuck and lose our capacity for expansion, we can lose ourselves. We lose our ability to move towards the things we want in life – dreams, goals, relationships, career paths – with courage and hope.
So what do we do when we’re stuck?
Restoring our capacity for expansion requires us to come back into relationship with discomfort.
Often the sensation of discomfort, that sensation of contraction or bracing, gets linked with fear, anxiety, depression, shame, and anger. And when we experience contraction in our lives, when we confront something hard, immediately there’s that anger, there’s the fear, there’s the shame, the anxiety, the depression.
Contraction, which is part of the rhythm of life, gets coupled with emotion. It can become a pattern. And when that pattern repeats over and over, we get stuck. We fight the contraction because it is coupled with negative emotions that cause discomfort.
Some of the work that we can do with our breath is to begin to uncouple that connection.
I can feel some discomfort and I’m safe.
I can feel some discomfort and I don’t have to be afraid.
I can feel some discomfort and I don’t have to be angry or anxious or depressed.
We can use our breath to help change the pattern.
Focusing on our breath can help us uncouple the emotion from the contraction so that we can move in and out of contraction and expansion with more ease.
Contraction and expansion – it’s the rhythm of the universe. And it is the rhythm of your own body. And your breath can help you get it back.
What does it mean to work with the breath?
We all breathe. We all need breath to survive. Using our breath to restore the natural rhythm of expansion and contraction in our lives is called breathwork. We can all benefit from breathwork, and there are multiple styles and types of breathwork to choose from. The key to breathwork is finding the right type of breathwork for you and your body.
Often when I’m working with a client, I talk about bringing a big toolbox. There are all kinds of things in there: different modalities, different styles of working, different options to try. And part of the process is finding what resonates with each individual client and their system. What lands? What makes sense? What works?
Because we’re all different. And different things resonate with different people at different times of their lives.
So if I try something with a client and it doesn’t land, we go back into that toolbox. The different types of breathwork are just a few of the tools in the box. I also remind clients that it’s my job, my responsibility to help them find what works. No one is alone in this process.
Want to learn more?
If you're interested in learning more, check out the Breathwork page on my website.
I work in person with clients in Tucson, Arizona, and remotely with clients around the world via Zoom.
If you’d like to work with me, simply reply to this email, or book a call directly on my site. I look forward to hearing from you!
Wishing you deep expansive breaths as you move into this new year!