The Breath

Christopher Ray shares the intro he uses to prepare clients for his 3-hour bodywork sessions. The breath is the key to this deep bodywork.

It’s impossible to exaggerate the power of our breath.

Our breath is our essence, spirit, life force, and catalyzer of all our metabolic processes. How we breathe reflects how we approach life. The way we breathe is the way we feel. 70% of our daily toxins, congestion, and funk is released via our lungs (Kravitz, Judith; Breathe Deep Laugh Loudly.) The other 30% is released via urination, defecation, and perspiration. We truly believe that if we all breathed fully and with awareness, this world would need fewer doctors. Once Chris began to incorporate breath coaching during his Thai massages, the effects of the massages soared to a new level of phenomenal. Getting clients to breathe deeply, consciously, and directly into the area being worked is probably one of the most powerful things we can do for them. We do not heal people; we help people access their breath so they can heal themselves. I believe the effects of bodywork — whether they are long– or short-lasting, potent or negligible, painful or painless — are essentially dependent upon the quality and character of the receiver’s breath and mindset.

The breath guides the movement of energy and physical congestion.

It is literally the breath, via receptors in our respiratory system, which gives the muscles and fascia permission to relax, change structure, and release old congestion. The brilliance of the breath is that, regardless of the cause or quality of the pain, limitation, or numbing involved, the breath is able to penetrate and reconnect with any area of the body that has been disconnected. You can breathe out old patterns, trauma, stress, and emotions that have been tucked away, hiding in your tissues. Without the assistance of the breath, our tissues are more likely to resist the effects of manual therapy. When we increase our breath capacity and awareness, we can progressively explore our bodies, and bring light (and oxygen!) into dark, forgotten parts of the body.

Different breathing patterns are utilized for different purposes.

For example, the ujjayi breath used in yoga traditions circulates and builds energy within the body. In contrast, when receiving bodywork or doing self-bodywork, we are targeting areas of overloaded, bound-up fascia. Thus we aim for a breath pattern which releases, rather than holds or circulates, the excess energy. When combining bodywork and breathwork, people discover themselves in a new way. Some areas of the body illicit peace or gratitude; other areas unlock anger, control, or sadness. Some people simply feel sensations in their bodies they have never felt before. These sensations occur when the breath and nervous system access capillaries and tissues that have accumulated scar tissue from years of living. Our breath is able to go places that our minds and hands cannot.

So relax your forehead, jaw, shoulders, belly, and pelvis, and let your mouth gently drop open. Take a full breath: Begin the inhale in your low belly and allow the air to fill your abdomen, side ribs, and upper rib area; like a wave assertively rolling into shore. At the top of the inhale, there is no resistance, no forcing; simply an easy tumbling to a relaxed, passive exhale through the mouth.

No holding back nor forcing out.

Just letting go. Aaaahhhh.