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Next Up: Breathe Deep

Continuing with the theme of the finest in middle-aged hip-hop, today I want to introduce you to another catchy gem of writing and performance by the Canadian band, Abdominal and The Obliquesspecifically, the song, Breathe Deep.

Nostrils flare, air enters

travels down throat to centre

of abdominal region, deep breathing

feeding organs with much needed

O2. Pollutants exhumed on the exhale,

stress sets sail

from its dock in the gut, out the bay of the lips,

really stocked up with stuff, so make way for the ship.

Buffeted by treacherous gales, but the breath never fails

to replenish the sails,

plus provide navigation through choppy seas

to help prevent running aground on rocky reefs.

So breathe dammit, through the storms of life…


—Abdominal and The Obliques, from the song, Breathe Deep; album, Sitting Music; Lyrics at

I love the lyrics in this song. I also love the plug the song offers for the value of calming breathing type practices, perhaps mindful breathing as well. (See the free download, what is mindfulness, for a summary of potential benefits of mindfulness meditation practices).

Read any book on compassion-focused therapy or compassionate mind training and early on you will likely find encouragement to practice soothing rhythm breathing, “SRB” for short. Soothing rhythm breathing is mindfulness of the breath combined with deliberately breathing in a soothing, calming way, typically slowing down, gently lengthening and deepening the breath. Initially, you might be encouraged to try experiments of SRB for 2 minutes a day, 5 days a week, to practice and see what happens, what you observe. (Psychologist, Russell Kolts, a wonderful teacher, is one who is known for this.)

If you were receiving instructions from me, (similar to what you would receive from many others), I would encourage you to try to observe what happens during your experiments with soothing rhythm breathing, to observe lightly (with curiosity and without harsh judgment), and to practice without a set goal or outcome in mind.

Some days practicing soothing rhythm breathing might feel calming; other days you might feel like all you experience are the choppy seas. This ties in nicely with my previous post, Mindfulness includes mindfulnes of the chaotic mind, not only of the pretty flowers.

Returning to the song, Breathe Deep, I offer my appreciation to Abdominal and the Obliques. This is great stuff.