I’ve been diving back into my friend Ashley Neese’s great book on breathwork, “How to Breathe”. Times are obviously tense, and I’m finding myself holding onto my breath a lot lately. Maybe you are too. She says: 

“When we are afraid to share how we feel or lack the skills to articulate what is happening for us, these feelings are consciously repressed or subconsciously suppressed. These repressed and suppressed feelings end up being stored in the body and over time manifest as chronic tension, pain, and eventually disease. The magic of learning to work with the breath is that we all have the built-in equipment we need to learn how to change our feelings (energy) and transform how they are expressed in our bodies.”

“I often describe the diaphragm as a lid containing emotions and experiences that we have repressed or suppressed in the body. This is one of the main reasons some forms of breathwork are associated with deep emotional healing. When you start to pay attention to your diaphragm and work with it through the breath, you process emotions somatically, or in the body, as opposed to processing them through the cognitive mind, as is common in the majority of psychotherapy practices.“

Breathing exercises may not be a guarantee to feel better, though I nearly always do- but I do feel more substantial. I’m a rock in the desert with a breeze blowing, and I listen to my breath, and feel calmer.