A student recently shared in class that focusing her attention on the breath “hurt”...there was “pressure” and it felt “tight.” Her ability to notice the uncomfortable sensations and articulate them was really helpful for many reasons: (1) other students may have realized they had similar uncomfortable feelings and were not alone in the experience, (2) as her teacher, I could guide her in other mindfulness practices that take her focus outside of the body and interrupt the unhealthy thoughts, and (3) she exhibited “self-care” – listening to how her body felt, and changing course when it did not serve her. I try to remind students that we should approach each mindfulness practice with curiosity and consider it a science experience for their brain! What works for one of us, may not work well for another; and what works one day, may not work so well the next day.
If you or your child experience uncomfortable feelings or body sensations during a breath practice, I invite you to try a practice that is grounding - helping you to feel in the present moment, stable and with a connection to the space around you. The 5-4-3-2-1 practice is wonderful in helping to shift the mind from what may be causing anxious feelings, and the best part about it is that it can be done almost anywhere!