respira – breath- adem – nefs – نفس

Five words all meaning the same in different languages and probably the words I repeat more often in my working time.

I think I say it around…

5 to 20 times per session x 6 session x 3 days a week = more than 200 times a week!



are you breathing?

hoe is je adem?



diep adem




We have dutch, arabic, turkish, spanish and english speaking patients coming so all the five languages are used and sometimes is a bit of a challenge for my language centres in the brain. I end up saying «nefs» even to a person from my own country…

Anyhow, this is only an example of how extremely importar B R E A T H I N G  is.

And how it can make a difference in performing a movement effortlessly or full of tension.

Sometimes it is even possible to see when one client is not present / thinking in something else just because she/he is holding the breath.

Me myself, needs obviously also to be breathing on an fluid way and sometimes when the patient holds the breath constantly or keeps a very superficial breathing, it gets even difficult for me to breath and I have to make an extra effort in breathing loudly for him/her to listen and notice.

Breath is usually the fastest way to make contact with the present moment and with the physical sensations. Althought this can sometimes be painful or even terrifiying  as in cases of abuse, noticing that you have a body can be a frightening experience.

As it is such an important topic I would like to share some words about the anatomy of breath from the book «Everybody is a body» from Karen Studd and Laura Cox:

«The primary mover of breath is a unique muscle called the Thoracic Diaphragm. (…) It is the structure that forms the ceiling of the abdominal cavity and the floor of the chest cavity, thus separating the structure of our inner volume. It also marks the difference between our upper and lower body. The Thoracic Diaphragm is shaped like a lopsided mushroom, higher on the right side due to the size and position of the liver. The cap of the mushroom fills the circumference of the rib cafe and is moved up and down by the action of the stem of the mushroom (two extensions of muscle tissue called the crura) which is attached to the front surface of the lower spine).

Inhalation results from the crura contracting to pull the cap downward, creating a vacuum in the thorax, so that air can then rush in to fill our lungs. On the exhale, the crura relax and the cap recolls upward, pushing air out of the lungs. (…) Experience of breath is an essential experience of self and as such it is a vital part of the self-monitoring process. No matter what our mood is, our breathing reflects our state of being. Subsequalvanize you. ently, breath can also be used to elicit particular states of being. Your breathing can relax you or energize you, it can serve to sustain you or galvanize you.

Awareness of breath supports movement. Breath support our everyday functional activities, our atheltic pursuits, our creative expression, our personal interactions. «

And also a very interesting ( a bit more advanced) video from the great Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen from Body Mind Centering.

And one interesting and funny fact that I realised when I started working with arabic people and started using the word nefs more often:

Nefs (نفس) in arabic is breath.

Every word in arabic can be reduced to its three root letters, in this case (N+F+S), and every word coming from those three letters usually has some kind of connection in meaning.

And guess what does Nafsy mean?

Nafsy (with the same three root letters (n+f+s) + y ¨1st person personal pronoun¨) means ME MYSELF. 

Isn’t it beautiful?

Language itself shows how important the breath is.

And even more, Tabib Nafsy is the world for psychologist, literally the doctor of me myself  (?!!?)…


Keep Breathing

Keep moving