By Toby Macklin, Haven Faculty member, MA, RCC, DipHCS
A curious thing about human breathing is that we can do it automatically (we must, in order to live!) and also consciously. It can be both a reaction and a response. We need both.
Sometimes we instinctively hold our breath to protect ourselves, to gain necessary control. Frequently – perhaps chronically – we get stuck in this holding, holding our breath, the patterns of our thought, and the muscles of our bodies. We forget to exhale, let go and breathe deeply once again.
The guided breathing recordings here are intended as opportunities to open and explore. At a time when in many ways it is important for us to close and restrict – our movement, our social space, our borders – it is important too that we find ways to open our hearts and minds, to ourselves, to one another, to the world.
I have seen a number of online breathing clubs appearing on social media, invitations to breathe together at an agreed time, knowing that others are with us in spirit if not in body. This is one way we can open and connect with one another.
As I write, I have been thinking of the words of the Sanskrit mantra:
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life in some way contribute to that happiness and that freedom for all.”
That is my prayer for myself, and for you.
15-minute Guided Meditations and Haven-Style Breathing
Below you’ll find 3 options to immerse yourself in meditations and breathing narrated by Toby Macklin. You may wish to picture yourself here, oceanside, at The Haven. Which version do you prefer?
With ocean waves and detailed instructions:
With background music and detailed instructions:
With background music and brief instructions:
About the Author:
Toby Macklin leads Come Alive, Living Alive Phase I, New Horizons: Phase III and the online Come Alive Integration program. He works at the Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees, and has a private practice in Victoria, BC, focusing on healing and growth in the face of trauma.