Our breath an intimate relationship
It’s interesting that many of us don’t consider our breath unless we perhaps have suffered with something like asthma or through improving our cardiovascular fitness. It wasn’t until I attended my first yoga class in the 90’s that I started to become more aware of it outside the fitness arena. Since then I’ve become familiar with my breath and how it is intimately connected my mental and emotional states. The ancients tell us “so the breath, so the mind.” In this blog I hope to inspire you to begin to develop a loving and respectful awareness of it. I’ll share with you some simple ways you can start to build this relationship. This in no way replaces the importance of having a teacher and I highly recommend you connect with one who can guide you on your journey. I also offer consultations in my online studio should you wish to expand on this.
“Our breath, like our heartbeat, is the most reliable rhythm in our lives. When we become attuned to this constant rhythm, our breath can gradually teach us to come back to the original silence of the mind.” Donna Farhi
Sacred sounds of the breath
I’ve found it really helpful when teaching the exhalation to use sound. Adding sound makes our exhalation audible. This helps us become aware of the tendency to not to breathe out all the air in our lungs. If we aren’t fully exhaling this also means we aren’t fully inhaling. So learn this technique first.
· Lying on your back you might like a bolster underneath the knees and a firm pillow under your head so your chin is softening towards your chest.
· Place one hand on your upper abdomen just underneath the sternum
· The other hand on your lower abdomen 3 inches under your belly button
· Start to breathe focusing on inhaling gently into your upper hand
· As you exhale start to make a humming sound
· Do this with complete ease, no tension for 5 rounds.
· Start to add an ahhhh sound for the next 5 rounds of breath and start to focus a little more fully on completely emptying all of the sound (which is the air) from the body. Use a gentle inward and upward engagement of the lower abdomen muscles to do this
· Please ensure you relax this contraction before you take your next inhalation
· Rest for a 2 minutes – observe your body and your breath
· If you enjoyed this practice you can add another round of 10 breaths. Once you become confident you can start to notice a pause at the end of your exhale.
· Since the breath is intrinsically connected to the mind, we want it to be relaxed, effortless, no tension. We can say we want the breath