Breathing Maps

Breathing Maps were one of the first mindfulness-based art processes that I really sunk into. When I started practicing mindfulness I would often get discouraged or frustrated when my mind would wander. With only my breath as my anchor, I felt I continuously got swept away in thought. When I started introducing art-making into my breathing practice, I slowly began being able to practice mindfulness for longer periods of time, without getting too distracted.

Here are a few tricks on using art as an applied form of mindfulness.

Please note, although I’ve included an example of what my breathing map looks like, you absolutely do not have to copy what I’ve done. ‘Like a finger print, everyone’s breath is unique, it may not look like anything that’s every been made before and that’s cool too. The main intention is to have art/ art making be your aid in practicing mindfulness. The directives below can be helpful.

Start by picking out your supplies. I tend to gravitate towards paper and pencil but as everyone has their own preference, I strongly recommend using whatever you are most comfortable with.

When I make a breaking map I start by noticing my breath. Where is my breathing at today? How much air do my lungs want to take it? Simply by noticing my breath I become more grounded in the moment.

Take a few minutes to imagine your breath, what color is it today? Where do you feel it in your body? Where does it go when it leaves your body?

Spend some time imagining the visual imagery that may come to mind. Feel free to explore the colour, texture, shape, and other qualities that your breath has. It may look different each breath, or change throughout your practice. However it arrives, is just how it is meant to be.

You can spend as little or as much time working on it.

You can also make these with friends, family and loved ones.

I find the activity helpful before I make art, before yoga, or anytime in my day I need a little extra grounding. Over the years the process and products have evolved.

Published by linneatheartist

Canadian Art Therapist and Death Doula. All services are currently offered online. Sharing my experiences with healing through art.

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