Are you exhaling? How does that impact your health and well-being?
When we are stressed, we often stop breathing. We hold, we contract or we take very shallow breaths. Oftentimes we aren’t aware of this response pattern. Yet the breath is one unconscious action we can consciously control. We can choose to deepen our breathing. We can remember to exhale completely. Changing the way we breath, including the extent of our exhale can transform our well-being.
Jin Shin Jyutsu Teacher, Wayne Hackett, often reminds us that all projects in life are either an inhaling or an exhaling project. Exhaling is specially related to many critical labels.
exhaling and Inhaling on Health
Energy descends down the front of the body and ascends up the back of the body. We exhale down the front and inhale up the back, in a continuous loop. Spending even just a few minutes to focus on our breathing in this pattern helps us to reconnect, relax, and centre. Intentional breathing is nourishing and cleansing. It also heightens our awareness of our physical, emotional, and mental bodies.
From the occipital bones area we exhale to the pads of our big toes and inhale from there. We let go, cleaning the body, clearing space so that we can inhale to build the body and to receive.
Is your exhaling breath longer than your inhale? Note that the distance between the bottom of our skull to our big toes is larger than that between the big toes to the occipital bones. This area on the pad of the big toe is the space between the exhale and inhale, as the exhale becomes the inhale.
When we exhale, we digest and do not accumulate. Pain is a sign that energy has accumulated in a space and on the manifested level, we see calcification, bunions, and tumours.
Exhaling is letting go. Holding on obstructs the natural flow of energy, which deprives other areas of nourishment. The season of Autumn corresponds with letting go, the Air element, grief, and the Lung and Large Intestine Function Energies. Letting go of sadness, grief, guilt, and fear of loss will be transformative. Letting of these emotions is not about forgetting; rather, it’s releasing fears and beliefs that keep us frozen in time. Frozen is not alive.
Autumn additionally corresponds with the second depth in Jin Shin Jyutsu. One of its roles is to govern the connective tissues, which keep the body together. Prolonged feelings of sadness, guilt, and other similar emotions disintegrate the body. When someone fears unhappiness or believes they will never be happy again can be a dangerous trigger for self-destruction.
Tips for Exhaling & Letting Go
Exhaling on the many different levels can transform our health and well-being on all levels. Here are some suggestions to explore:
Take pauses throughout the day so you spend some time observing yourself and your breathing. Is your breathing shallow? Is your body tense? Consciously change your breathing pattern. Begin with a deep exhale and feel your body relax.
Do you have feelings of guilt, sadness, or grief? Can you forgive yourself? Do you need to work with a professional to process the shock and sadness of loss? Have you acknowledged and accepted your loss and the changes in your life? Are you able to move forward so that you can face the new?
Lung Function Energy relates to Aries, “I Am” and Large Intestine to Taurus, “I Have.” These may be areas to contemplate. What is your identity? What is your relationship with and beliefs about possessions?
Autumn is an air element. This is about the intellect. What beliefs and conditioning do you hold that keep you from living freely and fully as yourself?
You can harmonize the attitude of sadness by holding your fourth finger. You can hold one side or both. Trust your intuition.
Liver Function Energy becomes the Lung energy in the stomach at 4am. Do you wake up a lot between 4am and 6am? Or perhaps you perspire in your sleep? Maybe your palms get sweaty? Do you struggle with chest congestion, chronic coughing, skin conditions or incoherent speech? Try balancing your Lung Function Energy by placing your left hand on the bottom of your ribcage on the left side and your right hand on your left collarbone.
Look at the different areas of your life – physical space, relationships, work, etc. Is it cluttered, congested or stagnant? Are there feelings and needs you wish to communicate? What’s holding you back?
The way we breathe shows a lot about our state of being. When we are under stress, shocked, or facing our fears, we may be holding our breath. We are in a holding pattern. What happens when we exhale? When we let go? Exhaling, physically and symbolically, has a positive impact on our health.