“I stubbed my toe yesterday and I automatically began to breathe slowly, long and hard, with almost in audible ‘ahhhhhhh’ which then changed to a ‘oooooh’ and another long, slow deep breath while I silently mutter ‘fuuuuuuuuuuuk’ followed by a high pitched ‘eeeeeee’ to myself under my breath.
Anyone relate? Yes it hurt, but somehow making those long, slow, deep breaths along with a few primal sounds helped. Seriously, it did. But I didn’t have to take a class that said, “Page 35: when stubbing the toe, the first thing one does to navigating the intense, searing pain is take a deep breath in and slowly release with a primal vocalization to engage the parasympathetic nervous system for the ‘rest & relax’ response.” my body just did it, all on its own. And during labor, if you find yourself in a panicked place (a fight or flight response that engaging the sympathetic nervous system) and you understood that it would pass, you too would probably go into a primal place of long, slow breathing all on your own. Or, you can prep for this by telling your partner, friend or doula to model breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth slowly and long while saying ‘oooooooooooopeeeeeeeeeen’ you will feel less alone, feel connected, bring yourself out if the thinking brain and back into the primal brain and into ‘rest and relax’ mode by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. This breath is sometimes called ‘Bradley Breathing’ or the ‘Pranayama/Yogic Breath’. I call it long and slow.
Why do we need to take a class to Learn how to breath like this? Ya don’t. Seriously, you don’t need to. But it’s 2020 and we live in a world where we are disconnected from our intuition and the simplicity of letting our body lead the dance, so we take classes to reconnect us to what we already know: Your body knows EXACTLY WHAT TO DO when you stub your toe or have a contraction – and it’s friggin’ MAGICAL!!”
— Elizabeth Bachner // Founder and Owner of GraceFull Birthing
Photo // @roriandlo