Finding Room To Breathe

With deadlines looming, appointments and meetings piling up, and life feeling hectic, it can be hard to manage stress and get adept at finding room to breathe.

Most movement and bodywork professionals will agree that what happens in life manifests in the body. There are commonalities in the human experience that tend to show up in similar ways in movement and posture. The way certain types of energies arrange themselves along the spine has been defined as chakras. Simply put, probably too simply since there is a thousands-year-long history of thought around this topic, chakras are wheels of energy. When in healthy alignment, they spin and create energy flow in the body. With February being “heart health month”, it’s a great time to center on the Heart Chakra.

Here are a few important thoughts regarding the heart chakra:

  • The Heart chakra is associated with air, which is why breathwork is central to this conversation
  • The emotional issues of this chakra have to do with love for self and others
  • When the heart chakra is “spinning” or healthy, one is naturally empathetic, compassionate and wise

Holding tension in this area of the body can feel like upper back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, tension headaches, and difficulty taking deep breaths. This can lead to feeling constantly tired and overwhelmed.

Upper body tension feels like “less room to breathe”.

Take inventory: are you able to take long inhales with both the ribcage and belly expanding but your neck and shoulders staying relaxed? If you find that your shoulders and chest rise to your ears when taking deep breaths, it’s safe to say that you hold quite a bit of tension in your upper body.

What causes this?

Stress – always a factor in our fast-paced world

Anxiety – remaining in a heightened or, anxious, state

Overwork – being unable to relax and enjoy oneself

Posture – staying in one posture for extended periods creates and solidifies movement patterns

Overtraining – over-using exercise and weightlifting regimens without proper rest and nutrition

Pain – Physical, emotional, and mental pain can create excess tension in the body

Finding room to breathe

  • Release tension in the upper body
    Using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, massage gun, or stretches that relax the upper body are great first steps to releasing upper body tension.
  • Breathwork – this should typically be done during or after massage, stretching, or movement work.
  • Increase neck/chest/shoulder/upper back mobility and stability
    Yoga, targeted mobility training and intentional strength training can all help alleviate posture challenges and weakness in the upper body or heart chakra area.
  • See a practitioner who can help you manage stress and breathe
    Massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and movement specialists all provide support for increasing upper body openness and creating more “room to breathe”.

If you live in or near Eugene, OR, come visit us at Well Balanced Integrated Care! We offer multiple modalities to choose from and collaborate to find a care plan specifically tailored for you. We have massage therapists, acupuncturists, mental health therapy, chiropractic care, and movement specialists ready to help you walk confidently into the new year. Above all, we want to see you thrive!

Here is another interesting article on breathwork.

Here is more information on the heart chakra.

Disclaimer alert: The views expressed within this article are opinions and are not meant to replace, contradict or be substitution for the advice or guidance of licensed medical or mental health professionals.