I’m very excited to share the first of five segments I have for you – all having to do with something I feel very passionate about. Over the next month, I will be sharing some of my training and personal experience I have with the one thing we all have in common: Breathe. I will be sharing specific exercises and tips I have learned, through my training as an actor, that are used to achieve a greater sense of authenticity, openness, awareness, and resonance in the body. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your day to day life may be. It does not matter whether you practice yoga every day and are therefore familiar with breathe and mindfulness, or whether you have never stepped foot onto a mat. Why? Because we all breathe. We all inhale and exhale and we all have emotional responses to life’s events.
Disclaimer: The credential I have in sharing this information is: Life. Through my training in breathe and body work, along with trial, error, struggle, success, and a long journey, I have found my way to a place where I am more open. authentic and aware of myself than ever before. I have trained with many incredible teachers who are specialized in very specific forms of body movement and breathe work. This is some of what I have taken from them.
There are no concrete answers or miracle cures, and I am not holding the exercises I will be sharing up to any sort of pedestal. Each person’s experience with breathe and movement is different. However, through my training, I have gained a fascination for the body and the power it has in our lives. I have experienced first hand how our sense of well being can be affected once we learn to release some blocks we may have stored within us. Bodies are fascinating.
Breathe is life. Breathe is emotion. Breathe means the ability to feel what is being sent through your body: your impulses, desires, emotions and needs. When you are not truly breathing, you are literally blocking yourself off from feeling.
And when emotions are hard to feel… this makes sense, right?
When we have had any sort of trauma or painful past experience, our body’s first response is to find a way to not have to feel these feelings ever again. So it forms blocks. Literally. The body forms physical blocks in the tissues and muscles and holds within them these past feelings and memories. See, when we do not deal with a painful memory, the experience never actually leaves us (no matter how convinced we are that it has). Our minds may have forgotten, but they are forever stored within our bodies. Over time, these stored away experiences fester and grow and become toxic, leading to stress and anxiety and struggle. Until, that is, we let them out.
We all breathe (obviously – or you wouldn’t be reading this). But very few of us realize that we are not truly breathing. In this day and age especially, full of stress and “go go go” schedules, discipline and anxiety, the majority of us don’t even realize that we are closing ourselves off from the full potential of our breathe. We run around with tightness in our muscles, tightness in our chests and shoulders, and as a result, a very shallow breathe system.Breathe. Awareness. Authenticity. Being open takes practice. Click To Tweet
It is my job, as an actor, to be authentic. It is my job to find truth in human experience and emotion and to share the most vulnerable and honest parts of humanity. To do this requires an enormous sense of emotional openness and body awareness. To the surprise of many, my training is nearly entirely focused on exercises to create a relaxed state in the body. I do a great deal of physical work that is meant to release physical tension. We then combine these physical exercises with exercises to open the breathe.
When we are open, we are authentic. We speak from our true voice… which, if I may digress for a moment, is usually a lot lower than what we use in our daily social lives (we tend to raise our voices when we are trying to be liked, or when we feel the need to put on a “pleasant” exterior, because god forbid a lower, grounded voice would make us seem “bitchy” or “uninviting”). Think for a second – do you use your real voice in your day job? Do you use the same voice you use with your partner at the dinner table at the end of the day? Do you feel anxious or burnt out at the end of a day? This could very well be because you just spent a whole 8 hours speaking from a place that is inauthentic – which takes a hell of a lot of energy and work. I could do a whole other post on the psychology of the voice.Do you use your real voice? Click To Tweet
You do not need to be an actor to take benefit from breathe work. In fact, I truly believe it is something everyone should do at some point in their lives. Breathe makes us open, and when we are open, we allow ourselves to feel what we are truly feeling. We can then begin to eliminate the stress we put on our bodies and minds by trying to act like someone else. We can then lessen the emotional and psychological stress we lock ourselves in by blocking ourselves off from our desires and impulses. It can be as simple as knowing how to exhale as you are sitting on the bus.
I hope you return to learn a bit about the breathe system, the chakras (which I begin explaining in part two) and possibly take with you a few exercises you can use in your daily lives – in the morning at home, during meditation, in your yoga practice, or even (and most importantly) as you drive in your car or simply sit in class.
Some main sources to which I owe much of my personal study:
Do you feel you use different voices throughout your day – depending on when you are at work or who you are speaking to?
Do you ever think about breathe?