I have tried breathing exercises numerous times before, but never guided by an instructor as with the "Journey On" activity. What an experience...
To begin the activity I sat comfortably in my computer chair with my legs folded one on top of the other (yoga style), my hands resting on my thighs, and my upper body leaned back into the chair. I took note that at first my surroundings were filled with the sounds of my nieces and nephews playing downstairs and lots of traffic going by outside; however, not long into the exercise all of these sounds seemed to drift away and were replaced by only the soothing music playing in the background. The music also had an effect on my breathing, making each breath I took slow and steady. I immediately felt relaxed merely by the instructor's suggestion and further as I felt the word "relax" on my tongue with each exhale.
As the speaker began guiding me through the process of redirecting the blood flow to my hands I visualized the blood coming up into my shoulders with each inhale and down to my fingertips with each exhale, still breathing as rhythmically as before. I found that my hands did not necessarily have the sense of heaviness that he described but they were indeed warm and I could feel the blood and energy coursing through my fingertips. When I was guided to move my arms I still did not feel the heaviness or difficulty in doing so, yet there was a surreal quality to the experience like they were just floating into position and back with no real effort at all. I followed a similar visualization process as before in returning the blood flow back to my abdominal area by visualizing the blood flowing back into my shoulders with each inhale and down to fill my center with each exhale.
The end of the relaxation activity was my favorite part. As the instructor guided me back into reality I noticed a serene-like smile had formed on my face that I was previously unaware of. Slowly all the sights and sounds started drifting back to me. With previous similar exercises I always had a hard time actually blocking out my thoughts, which was not even an issue at all during this attempt, and I am sure I can thank that success to the guidance of the instructor. While this was impressive, the most amazing part to the whole activity was the fact that prior to starting I had a muscle spasm throbbing in my shoulder and after the activity the pain was still there yet the throbbing had dissipated.
I was truly impressed and happy with my experiences through the "Journey On" relaxation activity. I cannot believe the difference in performing breathing exercises on my own compared with having an instructor guide me. I am intrigued by my body's responses and cannot wait to try it again!