To banish creative block and foster creative flow, you have to breathe in a way that invites the relaxation response. Welcome to this Creative Breathwork Meditation 1: Begin with Breathing Out, the first in a seven-part series on breathwork to foster creative focus and flow.
When you were born, the first thing your mother or midwife did was clear your airways and make sure you were breathing. To begin to live, you have to breathe. To stay alive, you have to keep breathing.
A consciously creative life is exactly the same. To come alive creatively, you have to breathe in a certain way.
When you move from con-state (your everyday, surface, thinking mind mode) to create-state (your constant, underlying, creative mind mode), your breath automatically changes: grows longer, deeper, more even.
When our breath is constricted or jagged, there is no ease, no freedom, no flow. When we breathe freely and consciously, it clears the mind and everything opens out again.
We feel the benefits instantly. We recognize ourselves becoming part of the great creative flow. We understand how to let go, and let life support us.
Then our breathing eases and life flows freely, around in and through us.
To experience creative flow, sometimes
Practicing creative breathing means consciously adjusting the tone, pace, evenness and depth of your breathing in a way that fosters creative focus and flow.
The simple act of creative breathing gives you a creative handle on yourself. Instead of life being something that happens to you, by entering the open space of no-thought, you are are able to locate yourself
You are part of the great creation happening in, through and around you. One conscious breath can remind you of that, can take you deep and back into flow.
The Creative Breathwork Meditation 1: Begin With Breathing Out
The conventional way is to think breath in first, then breath out. Take first, then give. We need to be instructed in how to breathe the creative way.
Out first, then in. Give first, then receive. This feels counter-logical but when you try it, you see how it works.
“The functioning of all systems of the body depends on delivery of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide,” says Dr Andew Weil. “To get more air into your lungs, concentrate on getting more air out of them by attending to exhalation. Make your exhalation as long as, or longer than, inhalation. The more air you move, the healthier you will be, physically and mentally. To get more air into your lungs, concentrate on getting more air out of them by attending to exhalation.”
Make your exhalation as long as, or longer than, inhalation.
Begin With Breathing Out: The Technique
Sit or lie in a comfortable place. Place your palms on your belly and focus awareness on your breath.
Begin with Breathing Out: Exhale
Imagine your lungs are below your navel; let the top of the chest remain relatively still. Now allow your belly to sink back in the direction of your backbone, to exhale as completely as possible, emptying the body of as much air as possible. At the end of the breath, when it feels like time to breath in, try squeezing more air out.
Engage your intercostal muscles to help you. You’ll feel the effort as they compress the rib cage.
Again, imagine your lungs are below your navel. Let the top of the chest remain relatively still and allow your belly to swell to accommodate the incoming air.
See how, by putting your attention on the exhale, your inhalation looks after itself.
Complete three rounds of such breathing each time you think of it.
Whenever you think of it, practice this technique of beginning with the out-breath, extending exhalation, and developing your intercostal muscles.
Whenever your mind spots that your breath is shallow, uneven, speedy, jagged, it regulates the breath to long, deep, slow and smooth again.
Eventually you get to a point where you can become conscious of your breath no matter what else you are doing: working or playing; walking or — most challenging — talking.
Creative Breathwork Meditation: A Poem
In times of thought
when you find yourself
taken and shaken
by the world
and its rivers of weeping
to take time
to slip below the stream
into the deep.
The time it takes
to take one breath
is time enough
to know the peace
that always wells
MORE CREATIVE BREATHING TECHNIQUES:
- Creative Breathwork Meditation 2: Follow the Breath
- Creative Breathwork Meditation 3: Counting the Breath
- Creative Breathwork Meditation 4: Bellows Breathing
- Creative Breathwork Meditation 5: 4-7-8 Breathing
- Creative Breathwork Meditation 6: Between The Words Breathing
- Creative Breathwork Meditation 7: Inspiration Meditation