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Guided Somatic Breathing Exploration

Updated: 6 days ago

A short somatic practice to explore a full breath


When you see a new born baby or an infant breath, their little bellies go up and down when they breathe and their ribs expand in all directions. They are taking full advantage of their lung volume by effortlessly breathing with their diaphragm (let’s call that our “breathing muscle”). The diaphragm pulls like a vacuum in the lungs allowing them to fill themselves full of life–giving air. The diaphragm also massages the internal organs, aiding in digestion and other vital visceral functions. The diaphragm also moves in concert with the pelvic floor diaphragm  to help create a reflexively stable core. Again, this is how we are born breathing – with our diaphragm muscle doing most of the work with ease.


Ask yourself if you have time for a short (minute or two) embodiment experiment.


If so, read on!  If not, you may still want to read through the exercise just to plant a seed of awareness in your breathing.




Find a comfortable position, best seated or lying down.


Begin by softening your belly with each inhale.  Can you relax your belly so that it expands as you breathe in.  Do this for several breaths.


Now notice as you inhale if you can let the collarbones float a bit.  It may happen especially towards the end of your inhale.  A tip for getting a nice full inhale is to focus first on exhaling most of your air out, then your breath will naturally be deep.  Placing a hand on your collarbone can help you to sense this.


After a few breaths focusing on the rising of your collarbones, see if you can be aware of both the softness and movement of your belly and diaphragm as well as your collarbones lifting simultaneously.


Now start to notice the space behind you. The feeling of clothes, the floor or chair, against your back.  Breathe into those sensations.   Then as you exhale and inhale fully, notice if you have any sense of your bones moving, noticing the back of your ribcage expanding like a balloon.  Explore breathing into the back space of your lungs and ribs.


Then proceed to sensing the front of your rib cage.  Notice any movement that occurs in the ribs or sternum as you inhale and exhale.   After a few more breaths, see if you can feel both the front and back movement of the ribcage simultaneously with each inhale and exhale.


Now notice any sensations that arise in your left lung and rib cage as you breathe after a few breaths, move your attention to your right lung.  Then notice any bilateral movement of the ribs as you inhale and exhale.


Finally you may want to explore combinations, can you feel up and down, front and back and left and right all moving simultaneously on the inhale and exhale?


Is there any direction or area that feels pleasant to breathe into?


Thank you for participating! Hopefully you feel more relaxed now that you’ve tuned in to a deeper sensing of your breath and its effect on some of the structures of your body.

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