Breathing in Isolation: support with anxiety & breathlessness during lockdown
Life of Breath researcher and mindful yoga teacher Kate Binnie offers recorded breathing support during the COVID-19 lockdown…
“If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.” ~Chinese Proverb
During the next few months we will all be affected by the impact of coronavirus whether it be professionally, personally and/or existentially. Many of us will have older, frail parents or other relatives and loved ones who are particularly at risk and possibly far away. Maybe we – reading this – are at risk ourselves because of an underlying health condition and are finding that anxiety about the virus is exacerbated by isolation and that this negatively affects symptoms including breathlessness. What can we “do” about it beyond protecting ourselves as best we can? How can we develop our inner resources in order to stay steady and keep going in the face of all this uncertainty?
Breath-Body-Mind integration (BBMi) brings together elements of mindfulness and compassionate attention to the body and breath, gentle movements from the tradition of yoga to release tension, and an implicit understanding that a need to feel safe and connected is a fundamental human drive. When we’re separated from other people, we are thrown back into our relationship with ourselves which can be hard, especially if we feel our body has let us down or isn’t “working” properly in some way. BBMi offers a method to re-connect with ourselves, feel calmer and more in control.
I have been developing BBMi with patients with various illnesses that cause breathlessness – including lung and heart disease – for many years, and they find the recorded practices extremely helpful particularly at night if they can’t sleep, or at times of isolation and heightened anxiety. They report using these recordings help them feel supported, safer and less breathless.
To do these practices, just slip off your shoes, get comfy, and have a go. You will find that after a few listens the ideas, feelings, and instructions become more natural to you. Practice when you feel ok – this is when your mind and body are most receptive to learning and new experiences. Then the techniques will be embodied and available to you, whenever you need them.
You will find:
- A short video – gentle movement in a chair to open the body and release tension
- A short calming practice (5 mins – chair or bed)
- A longer calming meditatino (15 mins – chair or bed)
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We at Life of Breath wish you and yours well.
Kate is a music therapist and mindful yoga teacher with an MSc in palliative care. She is a research associate with the Life of Breath team, researching the application of body-mind interventions for breathlessness and anxiety in advanced disease.