Unlocking Creativity and Flow Through Breathing
Can we unlock deeper states of creativity and flow states through breathing?
We often hear the question arise about what do you do in the float tank?
Other than the pithy answer of “well, you just float,” it often helps to provide some open-ended guidance to those new floaters who maybe don’t have a lot of practice with single-point meditation or focused yoga.
Breathing is often the first place I turn to when recommending something to focus on when floating. Your breath and your heartbeat are the only things you can hear if you’ve turned off the music and so you can either embrace it or it may become a foe like the telltale heart of Edgar Allen Poe.
It still sounds a little hokey, but learning to attend to your breath and breathe more consciously is doing miraculous things for people’s health. You can do anything from reducing stress to performing and recover better in sports all just by shifting the way you breathe.
Most of us breathe an average of 12 times per minute and this isn’t far away from what researchers suggest is a sign of a stressed body at 15 breaths per minute. Shifting your body into a relaxed state takes a little conscious awareness and practice to reduce your breathing rate to less than 8 per minute.
I believe that getting into this relaxed state alone is enough to induce deep states of flow in the tank and enhance creativity by allowing your brain to function more optimally.
However, to take it a step further, there are techniques more deliberately designed to tap into the creative centres of your body, as you practice and develop more conscious awareness of oxygenating your body through deep breathing.
This is an example of a Wim Hof Method (WHM) technique used to specifically induce creativity through thyroid activation. This is a more advanced technique with the Wim Hof Method and while you may try and practice it, I will be releasing more information in the coming months about how you can join me in learning more of the fundamental techniques to help you get more out of the practice.
WHM Technique for Creativity:
* Never push anything past your comfort zone. This isn’t about doing anything to extremes. It’s about developing more control and capacity in your body over time.
* Get into a comfortable position, either seated in a chair or preferably lying flat on the floor.
* Begin WHM breathing - fully breathing into your belly, chest, head in a wavelike motion. On the exhale, only let your chest and belly fall without effort to retain most air and oxygen.
* Repeat this wave-like breathing for about 30 breaths until you are fully oxygenated. The signs of an effective round are that you will begin to feel lightheaded, tingling in the fingers and toes, and loose in the body.
* On your final breath, fully inhale, fully exhale, fully inhale again and hold at the top of the breath with your lungs full of air.
* Squeeze your chest and neck and push that oxygenated blood into your upper chest where the thyroid is located. Only partially squeeze the neck to avoid the sensation from going to your head, which is another technique for different intended purposes. It helps to visualize the blood going to your chest and thyroid as well.
* Hold for about 30 seconds before exhaling fully.
* Repeat two more full rounds before ending or doing some regular WHM breathing for relaxation.
This practice will take between 15-20 minutes depending on your pace of breathing.
After completed it helps the first few times to sit for a moment and take inventory of how you feel. If you are doing the practice for the intended tapping into your creativity, you would then ideally sit down to do the creative work you’re wanting to do.
This might not make complete sense at first, but we talk about it in this podcast episode here as well and watching the video version may help to better see how it works. Read or listen through a couple of times while trying it out for yourself.
P.S. I will be running some seminars inspired by the Wim Hof Method and other meditations that I’ve learned from in the coming months and so follow us on social media or subscribe to the email list to get advanced notice on the limited space that will be available in each of those groups.