Sacrum breathing is a great preparation for any breathing practice, because you can begin with a peaceful attitude and not a controlling one. The sacrum also has wings ~~ it needs to be free and breathe; and you may have more fun too!
How does your sacrum breathe?
This is an important question to answer before you go on – so take a moment to sit on a haRd chair, slightly to the front of you sitting bones, and allow your breath to be just as it is without any interference. If this is tricky and you interfere with your breathing when you observe it, try cultivating a more ‘peripheral attitude’; so be aware of the feeling of the chair touching your sitting bones, the space around you etc. Then, see if you can feel which way your sacrum rocks as you breathe, does it rock forward or back when you breathe in? There is no right or wrong way, so please resist the urge to ‘do’ anything, let go of any ideas of ‘how’ you should breathe. Wait until you can observe this without effect your breathing, this listening skill will serve you well. It’s also a great diagnostic.
If you can’t feel it yet don’t worry, just take your time and keep coming back to this inquiry until it’s clear – if it helps you can use a hand resting on your sacrum to feel it more clearly. Only once you can sense the direction clearly, go on to the next part, if you skip this stage the rest will not make full sense. This is not the movement of your Pelvis, which can in fact go the opposite way.
This movement, the direction of the rocking, reflects the state of your nervous system. Many people are ‘locked’ on sympathetic breathing; that is the kind of breathing that goes more with activity or stress and is usually more ‘chest breathing’. So when these people do so called (unfortunately so) ‘belly breathing’, the calming effect on the nervous system, to a more parasympathetic state, is not so effective. There can be a lot of effort to try and make the belly full, literally breathing actively into the belly, this can create a lot of un-quietness in the belly. The crura, or strings, of the diaphragm can also be chronically tied to the action of the diaphragm – they are connected to a separate nerve and need to be able to function separately. Sometimes, for example, we need extra stability in the lower back and still need to breathe. Yet many well meaning yoga practitioners unwittingly learn to over-stabilise and chronically engage the crura – like by over-focusing to do balancing postures. This has all kind of knock-on effects, including on the connective tissue connection from the crura, through the heart to the sternum, this can be quite challenging to confront without understanding what’s involved (see post:
So if your sacrum only seems to rock forward on the in-breath, and you’ve no reason to be stressed – what you can do is to simply use an image; visualise the sacrum rocking back on the in-breath and forward on the out-breath – do nothing, just stay with the image for a few moments, it’s more like the suggestion of a possibility and not to be imposed in any way. You can again also place a hand on your sacrum and fell the soft fullness spreading across this area as you breathe in, imagine the breath passing down and massaging your kidneys before it continues on down the scoop of the sacrum.
Once this is easy, try switching back and forth a few times, remember to not actually ‘do’ anything – can you feel a change in the direction of rocking?
The forward rocking, or nutation (nodding) and its counter-part counter nutation also occur in walking and other movements like flexion and extension – so don’t get hooked on trying to make your sacrum breathe correctly – there is no such thing – it depends on many things; how you’re feeling, what you’re doing, your relationship to gravity, your posture, it’s even involved in birthing etc.
Yet we are talking about a tiny movement, even though it can feel quite large, the maximum movement is around 4 degrees and is often not more than about 2 degrees. So most importantly – never force of try to make this movement happen. Just be patient, it’s well worth it, the breath is one of the best yoga teachers you’ll ever find.
from YogaYoga.com, by Leo Pepas ~~