Breathing is the first natural instinct we use at birth. Have you ever watched a baby sleeping? The breathing of an infant is deep into the belly. Breathing was not intentioned to be a conscious effort but rather something that comes naturally. Unfortunately, breathing fully and deeply stops as our life experiences teach us to not to.
I can actually pinpoint one moment in my childhood when language and actions taught me to hold back on breathing, although it took an afternoon therapy session to recall it. At age eleven, my mother returned home from the hospital with a new baby in her arms. I was suffering from a cold and my mother was concerned that I might pass the germs onto my baby sister. When I ran up to see the baby my mother stopped me with an outreached arm placing her hand on my chest. The words she spoke were "Don't breathe on the baby." The next day she allowed me to hold my sister but only after she placed a handkerchief over my nose and mouth so I wouldn't breathe bad germs on the baby. The message I heard emotionally was... "breathing is not good." Afterwards, I became a shallow breather for the next twenty-five or so years of my life. I am now striving to breathe deeply and naturally each day.
In my own healing practice I often find myself reminding clients to breathe. Many of us are in need of relearning the natural act of breathing. Fear is a main factor in blocking our breath. This fact is recognized in the healing community and the Internet offers many resources detailing methods and therapies to help us breathe better.