This is an exercise that I really love, give my clients, and do myself (often). You'll see the picture there -- two people sitting back-to-back (I’ll get to that).
So… I had these family members come into my session once and they each just had a bunch of unmet needs. They were so mad at each other. They just could not listen to one another. They were really frustrated and I wanted to give them a tool for them, at that moment, and whenever that happens at home (or whenever it might), so I asked them if they could just sit back-to-back. I explained that one person follows the other person’s breath. It’s really hard, at first, to feel someone’s breath through their back, but you can just ask the other person to just breathe in and, when they exhale, they’ll exhale with a hum so that you can find their breath.
Just imagine this for a second... Take a deep breath in... and then exhale. Another deep breath in… and exhale. The person continues to breathe in, followed by an exhale with a hum. The person who is following that breath can find it and actually mimic the hum too, as well as the breath.
There’s something so grounding about this. It actually activates the parasympathetic system, which calms our nervous system. After about 10 breaths, you’ll switch roles and have the one who had been breathing and humming follow instead.
You’ll find that they also get affected by calming down their nervous system. So, no matter what is going on, the only way we’re going to get to the bottom of it is if we can calm down and hear each other. Maybe we can’t have each other or make each other feel like we can meet their needs, but we can definitely listen and can definitely calm down. Tensions are high. If you find yourself in conflict with the people who you really care about (the ones that you’re really around most of the time), see if you can try this exercise. I know it’s hard to introduce it (and people might be resistant), but I’m telling you that being calm and feeling someone's breath is a huge part of feeling connected to someone -- and I bet you that it will lead to something positive.
I hope that helps!