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esther m palmer

A full-bodied approach to breathing

Last October, I started sharing some thoughts on an approach to "full" breathing, which you can watch here and here, and then created a series of practices to introduce this approach.

The series takes you through a process of becoming aware of the way you breathe now, exercising some conscious breathing and some controlled breathing. Below is an outline of the practices and an audio player with the episodes. I hope you'll take from it what is useful to you and let the rest fall by the wayside.

 

Engaging with your breathing

An introductory breathing series
 

1. what you do now

I'll begin by guiding you to become aware of some aspects of your current breathing patterns. I say some because there's a lot there to notice -- you might uncover a little or a lot. You could repeat this practice daily and discover new things each time!
 

2. getting used to effort

In the second practice, I'll invite you breathe in and out through your nose and/or lengthen your breathing and notice your response to any accompanying effort.
 

3. where is the effort?

We'll revisit the practices from the second practice with a new focus, noticing where in your torso you feel any effort that comes along with nose and/or lengthened breathing.
 

4. belly, sides, chest, back

Building on the previous practice, I'll guide you to direct your lengthened breathing into the major areas of your torso.
 

5. positioning your torso

In this practice, I invite you to repeat breathing into one major area of your torso at a time with the addition of limiting movement into other areas at the same time. This practice pulls together awareness, effort, lengthened breathing, and directed breathing to create a manner of breathing that can take a lot of work!
 

6. ribcage quadrants

In this session, I'll guide you to breathe into different quadrants/sections of your ribcage.
 

7. flexible ribcage

Once you've practice breathing into sections of your ribcage, I'll invite you make use of the flexibility of your ribcage to reshape the expand and compress action that goes along with breathing.
 

8. ribcage and pelvis connection

This session will be part anatomy lesson! I'll talk about the core abdominal muscles that connect ribcage and pelvis, support the spine, and can move in concert with the diaphragm when you breathe.
 

9. positioning your ribcage

In this session, I'll invite you to practice exercising the abdominal-diaphragm connection to encourage your ribcage to move into a "postural neutral" position.
 

Audio-led practices

An Introduction to the series is "featured" below and then the episodes are listed in reverse order. If you want to listen to them "in order," start with Practice 1 and work up to Practice 9. If you use a podcast player, you can use this RSS feed address to load the series into your player.

Listen to "Breathing Series Introduction"
 
Be moving, be healing, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit mihail ribkin, found on unsplash

breathing into your back

This episode builds on #7 and #8. I offer the opportunity to practice intentional breathing as a vehicle for positioning your ribcage while keeping your spine neutral.
 
Practice #9 Introduction
Listen to "Breathing Practice 9 intro"
Practice #9
Listen to "Breathing Practice 9"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit kensuke saito surf photography, found on unsplash

ribcage and pelvis connection

I begin this episode discussing how your spine, ribcage, and pelvis move together. In the practice, I offer the opportunity to consciously engage your abdominal muscles while breathing and notice any connection that might establish between your ribcage and pelvis.
 
Practice #8 Introduction
Listen to "Breathing Practice 8 intro"
Practice #8
Listen to "Breathing Practice 8"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit hennie stander, found on unsplash

ribcage alignment

I begin this episode with a discussion of ribcage alignment (your ribcage is flexible!). In the practice, I offer the opportunity to explore noticing your own ribcage alignment through full, intentional breathing.

 
Practice #7 Introduction
Listen to "Breathing Practice 7 intro"
Practice #7
Listen to "Breathing Practice 7"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit hermann wittekopf, found on unsplash

noticing regions of your ribcage

In this episode, I'm offering a practice of breathing "into" your ribcage and then perhaps directing your breathing into eight different regions of your ribcage:

  • front top right ribcage
  • front top left ribcage
  • front bottom right ribcage
  • front bottom left ribcage
  • back top right ribcage
  • back top left ribcage
  • back bottom right ribcage
  • back bottom left ribcage

 
Practice #6 intro
Listen to "Breathing Practice 6 intro"
Practice #6
Listen to "Breathing Practice 6"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit mitchell luo, found on unsplash

"shaping" your breathing

In this episode, I'm offering a practice of "shaping" your breathing by allowing and restricting movement in different torso regions while breathing (e.g., allowing your belly to bulge while minimizing the rise of your chest as you inhale). You can pick and choose where to allow and where to restrict movement.

 
Practice #5 Introduction
Listen to "Breathing Practice 5 intro"
Practice #5
Listen to "Breathing Practice 5"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit paolo chiabrando, found on unsplash

breathing into your torso

In this practice, I'm offering a practice of "breathing into" different regions of your torso: belly, chest, ribs, back, and the whole torso. If you like, you might draw on the intentional breathing practices from episodes 2 and 3, as well as the noticing of sensation or effort while "shaping" your breathing.

 
Practice #4 Intro
Listen to "Breathing Practice 4 intro"
Practice #4
Listen to "Breathing Practice 4"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit satyajeet mazumdar, found on unsplash

noticing effort

This 12 minute practice revisits some of the offerings from the second practice in this series. In addition, I'm offering the opportunity to notice where in your body you experience sensation or effort within your intentional breathing practice.
 
Practice #3 Intro
Listen to "Breathing Practice 3 intro"
Practice #3
Listen to "Breathing Practice 3"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit roma kaiuk, found on unsplash

breathing with intention

In this 10 minute practice, I'm offering the opportunity to breathe intentionally through your nose only and/or with longer breaths. I offer time to notice whether or not you experience any effort within your breathing practice.
 
Practice #2 Introduction
Listen to "Breathing Practice 2 intro"
Practice #2
Listen to "Breathing Practice 2"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series.

a note on series order

I'm presenting these practices in an intentional progression assuming little if any familiarity with breathing practices. You know yourself best; if you find it valuable to pick and choose practices or try them in a different order, I'm all for it!

If you would like to work with a different practice today, the player above includes a playlist with all the practices (just one prior so far!).

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit ricardo gomez angel, found on unsplash

engaging with your breathing: an introductory series

The practices are here! I've been sharing a lot of concept and theory and now am ready to begin sharing a series of breathing practices that might help put some of the ideas of becoming more engaged with your breathing into practice.

In case you're stumbling on to this for the first time or just want a refresher on the intention of this practice series, I recorded an introduction that you can listen to here:
 
Listen to "Breathing Series Introduction"
 

ready to practice?

Below is the first in the breathing series practices. It's an observation and awareness-building practice. It's about 10 minutes long.

If you'd like to give this practice a try, please do as you need to feel prepared, whether that's in setting up your space or finding a quiet moment to yourself or pre-listening to make sure you want to go through the practice at all.
 
Listen to "Breathing Practice 1"
 

practice notes

If you found this practice useful, I encourage you to consider repeating it --perhaps in another week or as often as every day-- in between now and the next practice in the series, which I'll release on Dec 12.

And as ever, if you have questions or feedback on how this practice works for you, I welcome hearing them!
 
Be moving, be true, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit jesse martini, found on unsplash

defining your "better"

Some of us have a general sense that we want to breathe "better" --but what does that mean? Because of the way breathing works, it is going to mean different things for different people. It involves both where you want to end up and where you are now. I share more about that in the video below, enjoy!
 

 

A full-bodied approach to breathing

Last week and at the end of the above video, I mentioned an approach to breathing that I've referred to as "ribcage breathing," "directional breathing," and "core-connected breathing" --and all of these names are clunky and limiting. Sometimes words just aren't the best means of communication!

And because this is an approach that brings in a few layers of awareness and skill, drawing on any one element for the name is selling it short. Perhaps it should remain nameless?

In the next series of recordings, I'll guide you through a process of becoming aware of the way you breathe now, exercise some conscious breathing, and some controlled breathing. I hope you'll take from it what is useful to you and let the rest fall by the wayside.

And instead of naming the breathing, I'll just give this series a label: An introduction to engaging with your breathing. Below is an overview of my plan for what that introduction will include!

 

Engaging with your breathing

An introductory series
 

1. what you do now

I'll begin by guiding you to become aware of some aspects of your current breathing patterns. I say some because there's a lot there to notice -- you might uncover a little or a lot. You could repeat this practice daily and discover new things each time!
 

2. getting used to effort

In the second practice, I'll invite you breathe in and out through your nose and/or lengthen your breathing and notice your response to any accompanying effort.
 

3. where is the effort?

We'll revisit the practices from video two with a new focus, noticing where in your torso you feel any effort that comes along with nose and/or lengthened breathing.
 

4. belly, sides, chest, back

Building on the previous practice, I'll guide you to direct your lengthened breathing into the major areas of your torso.
 

5. positioning your torso

In this practice, I invite you to repeat breathing into one major area of your torso at a time with the addition of limiting movement into other areas at the same time. This practice pulls together awareness, effort, lengthened breathing, and directed breathing to create a manner of breathing that can take a lot of work!
 

6. ribcage quadrants

In this video, I'll guide you to breathe into different quadrants/sections of your ribcage.
 

7. flexible ribcage

Once you've practice breathing into sections of your ribcage, I'll invite you make use of the flexibility of your ribcage to reshape the expand and compress action that goes along with breathing.
 

8. ribcage and pelvis connection

This video will be part anatomy lesson! We'll look at the core abdominal muscles that connect ribcage and pelvis, support the spine, and can move in concert with the diaphragm when you breathe.
 

9. positioning your ribcage

In this video, I'll invite you to practice exercising the abdominal-diaphragm connection to encourage your ribcage to move into a "postural neutral" position.
 

10. bringing awareness into all shapes

In this final practice of the series, I'll guide you through some familiar yoga / exercise movements while referring to some of the breathing principles covered in the series, taking your new knowledge and skill into form and movement!

That's the plan anyway... we'll see how it turns out in practice!
 
Be moving, be healing, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit kensuke saito surf photography, found on unsplash

what should we call this?

I'll be the first to admit "ribcage breathing" is a terrible name for what I want to share with you --at best it's vague shorthand (that's how I landed on it) and at worst it's alienating jargon. I apologize! I do not have a better term today, but as I invite you to watch me talk about this thing, I'm making a promise to find a more welcoming term...
 

 

that's all for today

Tune in next time for a term update and more detailed information about how intentionally engaging with your breathing (whether it's about your ribcage or not!) can be a powerful tool for a handful of different objectives.

Along with that, I plan to share a series of practice videos that will build on one another, potentially serving as a loose guide for developing an intentional breathing practice.
 
Be moving, be healing, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit the blow up copy, found on unsplash

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