A Breath of Fresh Air

Stop SignBreath: it’s such an important part of living in our bodies. Have you ever experienced times when it doesn’t feel “totally there?” That feeling or realization has happened to most of us off and on throughout our lives. But we often aren’t even aware when it actually started or that our bodies developed consequences of not having total breath available.
So, what happened? I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “it took my breath away.” This has understandably happened to quite a few people in the last few weeks. There have been a few instances that maybe even stopped you in your tracks.

Big Changes

When we lost Robin Williams, most of us felt immediate sadness for his family, but we also felt the sadness for Robin and what he had gone through all of his life. But I think what really created reaction in our bodies was the realization of losing an icon that we saw as vibrant, vital, and so full-of-life. He had a way of being that he shared with all of us. He could make you laugh and laugh so hard you felt it in your very core. The realization that something big is no longer available to us is what “can take our breath away.” And where do our bodies experience that “taking or holding of breath”? Our diaphragms are where we get the reactions, the consequences.
Another BIG incident that was felt by those of us who live in Napa and Sonoma Counties was the earthquake on Sunday August 24th. The jolt at 3:20 a.m. in the morning was enough to take MY breath away! Follow that with the shaking and rolling that seemed to go on forever and I had a full diaphragm tightening experience.

My BIG Changes

The day before, August 23rd, was my birthday. I usually love everything about the birthday experience but this year was a bit different. My husband Randy’s birthday would have been the 22nd. This year I really missed having our birthdays together – I think because I didn’t have anything big planned, so there was the realization that all of the traditions that we had created over the years to celebrate both days were never going to happen again. I felt the loss and the changes. I actually felt like I was floating in a tunnel at times. Follow those feelings with the earthquake and I really had a “taking my breath away” experience.
So, what did I do? I got up on Sunday with the sunrise and took a really long hot tub where I did the Daily Clean Your House Flow, as well as other flows that are all about “getting grounded,” creating vitality and discovering breath and joy. I spent the rest of the day in the garden. I remember feeling thankful and joyful that I had a way to truly be in touch with the earth, the same earth that had jolted me awake several hours earlier. And I left that “tunnel feeling” behind. I felt an awareness that all was right with the world, that there are moments in time that can affect us but we can still be “okay.”


If you have had some “projects crop up” in the last week or so, and you don’t know what you did to have it happen, you are not alone. By the way, “projects” is the word I use instead of problems or conditions that are the results of the consequences of an incident, an injury, a trauma, etc.  So, some projects that could easily be results of diaphragm tightness and “loss of breath” are back discomfort, throat tightness, chest and breath constriction, knee soreness, loss of clarity and focus, loss of vitality. The list can be longer, but I’m sure that you get the sense of it. I’ve seen a number of clients over the last few weeks whose bodies are showing up with these projects.
Read on to get some answers for what to do – to open up your breath, to release your diaphragm, to rediscover calm, to find joy, to release constriction, to help your body release discomfort.

For specific project release:

To open the breath, calm the whole being, relieve anxiety:

  • Hold thumbs
  • Hold index fingers
  • Hold upper arms by folding arms across the chest
  • Cross hands and hold inside of knees (or upper inner thighs)
  • Hold right fingers on base of right ribcage
    and hold left fingers on right chest below collarbone

Switch and hold opposite sides

To release jaw, mouth or throat tension; to create space for breath and strong voice

  • Right hand cup the sternum just below the clavicle and
    hold left fingers in a vertical pattern just below the naval

To let go of head pressure, headaches, “mind chatter”, tired eyes; to remove incessant (persistent) mental absorption (often creates forehead and/or eye tension)

  • For right side “project”

Left hand – hold forehead with fingers on right side
Right hand – cup back of head, fingers on left base of skull

  • For left side “project”, switch hands

To reduce back and neck discomfort, improve flexibility and mobility, improve posture, enhance vitality, experience more gain & less pain in all that you do

  • Sit on both hands
  • Sit on left hand with right hand on left shoulder (near neck)
    • Sit on right hand with left hand on right shoulder (near neck)
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