Most of my clients are athletes, yogis, and active office worker. When I work with someone, it's a lot easier when their bodies give in to the pressure. Once the oil glides over the skin and the pressure of my weight guides their attention from movement to movement, every undulation of muscle fibres can be felt beneath my palms and fingertips. The flow and movement allows the transference of tension to the out-breath that both client and therapist take.
Occasionally, I meet people who have difficulty letting go of their breath, and hold themselves in their nerves. Breathing from the chest alone is not enough, as shallow breathing triggers the sympathetic nervous system and engages the body in fight or flight mode. What I feel beneath my palms is equivalent to pushing off a rigid and slippery surf board in the cold waters of New Quay - very very tricky. Interesting note: I tend to mirror what I feel in my client, and I find myself subconsciously holding my breath as well.
Any athlete or yogi will know that breathing through a workout is extremely important to allow the circulatory system to maintain performance and stamina. My coaches in Muay Thai, Sambo and BJJ have all stressed the importance of knowing when to stay loose during sparring sessions, allowing us to conserve energy, slip-out easily from grips, increase velocity of punches, recover position and prepare for attacks, just to name a few.
What we aim for is the diaphragmatic breathing, or belly-breathing, or the ujjayi breath. This allows the body to go into relaxation mode, or what's known as the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The nerve tissues in your muscle fibres will be able to respond better to pressure and let go of the clusters of sarcomeres blocking that wonderful flow of oxygenated blood, allowing a smooth transportation of your daily by-products that no longer serve their purpose to the organs that will eliminate them from your system. The result is a healthy, elastic and supple version of yourself, totally in balance within yourself so that you may live your truth.
Breathe well my friends.