I can think of no better place to begin discussing Mind, Body, and Spirit topics than with breathing. Considering that the act of breathing is something most of us take for granted, the role of breathwork and mindful breathing can be truly transformative to your mind, your body, and your spirit.
The process of breathing is a complex coordinated effort that involves the whole torso, not just the lungs. If you follow a yogic or body awareness path, then breathing can be a full-body sport. As a voice teacher, I start all my students on ujjayi breathing, the belly breathing technique from yoga, before we sing any scales or attempt any songs. The student must begin to incorporate ujjayi breathing into their everyday life and subsequently into their singing. Phonation (sound production) is based on airflow. While vocal science research has shown that the vocal folds are responsible for controlling airflow across the vocal folds when we speak or sing, breathing is a coordinated dance of the abdominal muscles, the thoracic and pelvic diaphragms, as well as the internal and external intercostal muscles of the ribcage (to say nothing of the bronchi and alveoli inside the lungs responsible for the gas exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide).
Deep, calm breathing has many relaxing and healthful benefits mentally and somatically.
When we are under stress, nervous, or anxious, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. An adrenal response evolved from the human body’s early days, adrenaline is great if you’re chasing a mammoth or running from a saber-tooth tiger. It’s not so great if you’re about to go on stage to recite your lines or enter a restaurant on a first date. Adrenaline floods the brain, sort of shutting down the frontal lobes, which are responsible for things like language. (Another reason being nervous before an audition or a date can leave you stumbling for words like a blithering idiot.) With the frontal cortex on coffee break, the primal brain takes over and straddles the fence in fight-or-flight mode. Deep, slow breathing can counter all of this, calming the mind and allowing the stress to be manageable so you can deal with it like a rational human and not a caveman. Breathwork allows you to focus on the task at hand or ease your pesky thoughts away if you’re trying to meditate.
Try sitting alone, with all noisy electronic devices turned OFF, and just breath deeply for 10 or 15 minutes.
Breathing is the action by which we replenish that chemical that is pertinent to our existence: oxygen. Breathing high in the chest — upper chest breathing — is a style of breathing in early English and French singing, but it is not recommended for any singing, speaking, or breathwork, in my opinion, because upper chest breathing also triggers the release of adrenaline. Breathe low in the belly, breathing down into the pelvic diaphragm. In voice, this style of breathing is called appoggio, but it is basically ujjayi breathing. I’ve been known to have students lie on the floor or sit against the wall in chair pose to feel the expansion of the back while breathing and singing. While on the floor, I have them place their binder or sheet music on their stomach so they can see when the book rises and falls and learn to associate that feeling with proper, deep abdominal expansion and contraction. A mirror is crucial to see the ribs moving outward away from the torso.
When we focus on breathing, we tend to focus on our body and our alignment, taking an inventory of how we’re doing physically. Tantra and Kundalini paths use different breathing exercises like kapala bhati and bhastrika that really, really work the body — these are powerful breath practices that require guidance from a teacher, especially if you’re engaging the body by applying “locks” at certain chakras. And in case you’re wondering, oxygen feeds orgasms!
A basic Sun Salutation is a great way to combine deep breath and body work to get the blood and oxygen flowing.
The word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus meaning “soul, vigor, breath,” derived from the word spirare which means “to breathe,” the root of both of these being spir. When we are born, the first thing we do once the umbilical cord is cut is breathe — we take in breath, we are in-spir-ed, or inspired. The last thing we do before we shake off this mortal coil is to exhale our last breath — ex-spire, or expire. In between that first inspiration and our final expiration, we take in and release breath repeatedly, or as we call it re-spir-ation, the act of respiration.
It is no coincidence to me that the lungs are located right there at the heart chakra. Whenever we are touched emotionally — in a good way or unpleasant way, we tend to either gasp, inhale quickly, or exhale in sadness or disbelief. I feel our emotions and breath are connected. Mindful breathing helps us stay rooted, grounded to the earth, when circumstances leave our mind — or our heart — reeling. Deep breathing can also lower blood pressure and slow a racing pulse.
Breathwork is absolutely fundamental to being healthy. The art of being inspired repeatedly throughout our life is as simple as breathing. When we’re overwhelmed, overly excited, can’t focus, or can’t think, deep breathing can help keep us centered and better prepared to relax into our task at hand or meditation session.
I’ve found a new way to enjoy my stealth orgasms — the orgasms that are brought on by little or no physical touch. I wasn’t looking for a new approach to my quieter, yet, oh so fulfilling full-body waves of bliss, and yet I have stumbled upon “sheet orgasms.”
While doing the barest of nipple stim and reveling in delicious nipplegasms, my legs open wide of their own volition. My hips move in their own dance, and my head is back in breathless euphoria. With it being colder now, I sleep with my duvet cover on, and I happen to be snuggled under the covers this morning. I move my hand to my labia, first outer, then inner labia, loving the change in her texture and posture.
My inner labia begin close to my vagina, but as arousal progresses, my inner labia extend upward, outward, as if standing at attention — the frilly edges more taut as they fill with blood in their own erections. Barely brushing my fingertips across my erect labia, the full-body waves begin, and I feel expansion in my heart chakra. I’m still amazed that slow, barely-there touch is so fulfilling, and infinitely more tender than hard frigging off.
I’m back on to nipplegasms, having gotten into a pattern of nipplegasms then barely-there gentle-touch clit O’s, and back again. On the weekends, I do this for hours, not getting out of bed until around 2 p.m. — except on the Saturdays I make a concerted effort to get up by noon to catch the vendors at the farmers’ market. But this is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and everything is closed. I can stay in bed all day.
Back arched and head back, the nipplegasms are on auto-loop at this point. As my knees part wide, falling open 180-degrees on the bed, the weight of the duvet presses the sheet toward me. The sheet brushes my erect inner labia, and a jolt of energy surges up my body. I thought it was a fluke, a wonderful accident, but I try it again, lifting my hips slightly. Sure enough — ZAP! There it is again. I lift my hips the same way, and the full-body waves begin. My hips circle several times, make figure 8’s in both directions as I learned in belly dancing, circle some more, then lift and lower in a plain ol’ back and forth motion. I am breathless as the stealth orgasms fill me and energy zings up my legs and arms, with that familiar energy spiral in the ball of my left foot, sending energy outward. The sheet has just become my new boyfriend.
Trying a few things, I learned that once the sheet is in the correct position under the weight of the duvet but not actually resting on my vulva, manipulating the sheet is not required, and any other touch of my genitals is not recommended. The barely-there brushing of the sheet across my inner labia is all I need to induce these wonderful, deep feelings that can only be described as orgasmic waves that crash against the shore of my body, sending billions of tiny pinpoints of pleasure up through me and expanding outward.
Sheet orgasms… who knew…
Aroused and pricing 1500 thread-count Egyptian cotton,
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This morning, I awoke knowing that I’d been dreaming, with a vague recollection of the dream, who was there, and that it didn’t seem to be a dream I needed to remember. I started to roll over from my side to my back. As I did, my legs opened up, and I instantly felt the throbbing sensation of arousal, and I knew I was really, really wet. I’ve had some issues with being wet — or lack thereof — fearing that now that I’m 40, it’s all down hill, and thinking back to my younger days when I was so wet, my ex used to complain I’d get too wet during sex.
Using a couple of fingers to feel what was going on, my outer labia were swollen, hot velvet, and my inner labia were thick and hot and wet, just as they are after a series of delicious orgasms… maybe I orgasmed while sleeping (wouldn’t be the first time)… though I don’t know why I would have — the dream was in no way sexy or sexual. Smearing the juices all over my clit and labia felt amazing, and I thought, “What did I do?!”
Last night, I had my nipple-gasms and my stealth clit-gasms but nothing penetrative or even too hands-on. All touch was light, barely brushing-the-skin caresses, gliding my fingers across my skin. And I drifted off to sleep on a cloud of full-body orgasms that left me feeling light and floating, as opposed to feeling tired the way manually “worked for” orgasms can drain energy.
Then I thought about what I had eaten yesterday. I thought, “That must be it!” Just going over in my head what I ate and drank, I could see that I had had more Omega 3-rich foods and remembered this same super-wet phenomenon had happened before when I went “over” what the “experts” say should be consumed in one day.
No one really knows what is too much, but someone somewhere decided 2,000 mg was enough. I need at least 4,000 mg per day.
My food consumption for yesterday was as follows:
- Breakfast – 1 cup almond milk with 1 tablespoon chia seed (which has 1,250 mg Omega 3), a couple small pieces of turkey sausage cooked in organic coconut oil, and 4 scrambled (cage-free) eggs (250 mg Omega 3 each) cooked in butter.
- Lunch – vegetarian fare at the Hare Krishna restaurant: 1 cup of an amazing dahl (soup), 2 cabbage pakoras, an oatmeal cookie, and tea (brewed with cinnamon, clove, and something floral).
- Dinner – sweet potato candied in butter with a dash of sea salt (OMG delicious!), 3 potstickers cooked in grapeseed oil, and sauteed organic Romaine, with my super awesome dipping sauce.
- Other – I drink about a gallon of water each day, and yes, I had some Diet Coke. While at the computer, I ate some bittersweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips, and throughout the day, I took 4 of my fish oil capsules which have 1,060 mg Omega 3 each. And of course, I went out walking a few times to get my Vitamin D.
So, all totaled — 1 T chia seed, 4 eggs, and 4 fish oils = 6,490 mg just in Omega 3, and that doesn’t include the Omegas of the grapeseed oil, coconut oil, chocolate, and anything else I had. My food was mostly vegetarian. The water I drink is tap water, but I always drink it cold over ice — I’m not a hot-beverage person. (Side note: I recently realized I have an ice fetish… must be an Irish thing…)
Clearly, Omega 3’s, chocolate, and water are the key to being super wet — for me, anyway.
Feeling how super wet I was, I just played in the juices for a while. They felt wonderful. I made a mental note not to allow stress to deter me from paying attention to my health anymore. Some days, I get so annoyed with things I want to pull my hair out, and I forget to take my fish oil or I don’t drink enough water — then I wonder why I’m not as wet as I used to be…. Being 40 doesn’t have to mean being a dried up ol’ prune! My vagina’s hydration level is most definitely related to my hormone levels and my water intake (since vaginal fluid is derived from blood plasma).
Needless to say, I definitely decided to have a morning O session — both hands on and alternately in, and it was spectacular! With the other sessions I’d had this week with the glass toy, my hands were ready for an old fashioned blended-O series of orgasms. It really, truly was amazing. I was breathless and speechless and in awe. The lava flow was incredible.
Afterward, I just lay there, exhausted but exhilarated, no crying (but that was perfectly fine), with my hands on my torso, my arms supporting my breasts. I felt this strong throbbing, as if my heart were beating out of my chest. I looked down to see it was my right breast — she felt as if I had another heart inside the breast herself because I could feel my breast “beating” against my arm. Weird but cool. But weird.
That faded, but it was a long while until the after-O’s calmed down. And I was still so very wet…
I stayed in bed for a while, then heard the crowds setting up for the Mardi Gras parade, so I decided to get up and get my caffeine before the parade stared. I went about my day, and it was a great day…
* Read Part 2 *
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