Somatic Breathwork & Meditation
Anything we become psychologically aware of must pass onto us through our physiological systems. From basic instinctive needs, to the longings for human connections, to the highest mystical experiences, everything, including consciousness, is dependent upon the body.
Likewise, emotional pain, negative thoughts, and anxiety are also conditioned by our bodies. When you feel anxious, you can sense how and where inside your body there are tensions and contractions as if our body is trying to hold onto something that is not physically there.
The whole purpose of meditation and breathwork is learning how to relax specific areas within our bodies that are emotionally reactive. Controlled, focused breathing is the foundational method for accessing these areas. This also gives you the opportunity to observe the quality and messaging of your own thoughts. Under normal circumstances, emotions and thoughts feed upon each other in a positive feedback loop that forces tension into acute levels of pain and discomfort. If you have a solid meditation practice, you are much better equipped to neutralize this feedback loop and guide yourself back to a state of acceptance and relaxation.
Vipassana meditation and Pranayama breathing both come from long standing spiritual traditions with their own philosophical backgrounds. You do not need to follow or even believe in these traditions in order to get benefit from these practices. Nonetheless, it is vital that we approach meditation and breathing through the spirit of self-compassion, self-acceptance, and nonjudgment. These are the basic principles that we need to neutralize anxiety and fear.
The goal is not to avoid uncomfortable feelings, but to observe them and learn what they are traying to say. When you are able to listen to your body, you will then have another level of information to guide your responses to any given situation.