Resistance To Deep Breathing

Resistance To Deep Breathing

Occasionally, a participant will report that he/she is having a hard time to continue breathing more deeply than normal over more than a few minutes. They may even feel a bit ridiculous thinking “why should this be so hard, it’s only breathing, I am breathing every moment?”.

The opposition to the breathing comes from your ego mind…a resistance to change and also to feeling emotions. If you look up the work of Wilhelm Reich, he is the one who discovered that restricted breath can be the result of “body armoring”, a resistance to feeling emotions. This “muscular armor,” or muscular tension is held in the body and blocks impulses to act freely and builds within the body until it disrupts a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. His work emphasized the idea that physical and psychological pain and turmoil were the result of people restricting their breathing and creating this muscular armor.

If this happens to you, my suggestion is as follows: start with a small step: let go of the breath technique that I discuss and find something that works for you where you can just move more air than normal..what I find works for some people is a very deep but slow breath, i.e. a bit slower than normal and making a sound on the out-breath, like an “aahhhh….” for the first bit of time. That is what I would start with. If that does not work for you, find something else that does not feel stressful or hard for your body but still moves more air. And, if you are feeling frustration with not being to breathe more deeply, dive into the frustration, really let yourself feel it, let it be like a force of nature, an accumulation of all the frustration you have felt in your life when you felt like you were not doing something correctly or could not make something work and let out sounds and move.