* Breathe Well and Live Well

Breathe well and you will find your Middle Ground.

I love to breathe! Its what attracted me to yoga and keeps me passionate about how yoga and mindfulness can transform us.

Without breathing fully, our yoga practice becomes simply a workout. Rather than calming the mind and soothing the body it can have the opposite affect. Yoga is the practice of connecting movement to our breath and moving the prana, or life energy through the body. In this practice we release tension and blocks from our body – and our mind – and come to a natural state of balance and peace.

The content here is to help bring awareness to how you breathe. Its the foundation for mindful breathing to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety and to live a full and healthy life.

breath awarenessIt begins with becoming aware of your breath:

STEP ONE – OBSERVING

Take a few moments to prepare yourself. Sit comfortably. Relax.

Begin by simply observing your breath. Get your own natural baseline.

Place one hand on your belly and the other above your heart.

Notice the rise and fall as you breathe in and out.

Let the wave of breath flow down to below your navel.

Feel that long slow wave of breath.

Now placing both hands just below the navel. Breathe as if your breath can reach your palms.

Notice how this fills the whole body with breath.

Let your belly expand as your lungs fill with air.

Soften your body so it can open to receive the air

Let the sensation of the breath move like waves. Find your own natural rhythm and pace.

Bring attention to your belly. Imagine as you inhale, your belly is like a balloon. With each inhale it fills up with air. Use your diaphragm to expand the belly outwards creating space for the air coming in.

On the exhale allow your belly to come back towards the spine.

This is yoga breathing.

Notice – without any judgment – if this is easy for you or somewhat difficult. Breathing fully using the diaphragm takes practice.

 

STEP TWO – EQUAL LENGTH

Lightly bring equal length to your inhales and exhales. Silently count in your mind to ensure they are equal length.

Imagine waves coming to the shore ebbing and flowing.

Moving on to the next step in a natural smooth way

 

STEP THREE – SLOW IT DOWN

See if you can slow down and expand the length of both inhales and exhales. Making the waves longer let them flow more slowly.

Find the length that is expansive and opening. If you sense any struggle you have gone too far.

Don’t try, just step into this new space, accepting that what is good enough for your body is good enough for you.

In your mind count a number that feels long and strong for each exhale and inhale.

Let yourself be in the space at the end of the exhale without grasping on the intake.

man deep relaxed breathing

STEP FOUR – EXPAND THE EXHALE

When you are ready you might want to expand your exhale making it longer than your inhale. See if you can make it twice as long.

As you release the tension in your body, allow the tension of your mind to also release with each long exhale.

Let the waves of breath flow through you.

Let the prana and life force flow through your entire body.

Come back to your natural breath and notice how you feel after this experience of mindful expansive breathing.

 

You can always come back to your breath to bring you to this place of centeredness and peace… Find your Middle Ground through your own breath.

 

 

28 responses to “* Breathe Well and Live Well

  1. Many years ago when I took yoga classes I did not realise how important the breath was. I struggled with the yoga breathing and yes it seemed like just a workout. But age and a new teacher has changed all that and now I understand a lot better. My yoga experience is just beginning and I am thankful I started going to classes again. Thanks Val. I discover something new each time I practice.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, I’m with Sue. I want to come to your classes. I love to breathe too. It’s how I go to sleep at night. Counting breaths instead of sheep. I never got the whole sheep thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiling … I never got the sheep thing either Mary! Those staring eyes in the dark got a bit freaky 😉
      I would love to have you in class, and I would so enjoy walking along a path with you any day 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post, as it is a good reminder. I find that when I can remember to breathe deeply, I can calm myself down in almost any situation. I learned the breathing techniques in yoga, but they help in other areas of my life as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Yes, the breath. I am amazed at how many people do not know how to breathe! I do lots of yoga, and the breath gets more important rather than less…but as a child I had to learn how to breathe very deliberately, because I had asthma, so maybe that helped too. Either way, I love that my breath is always with me as a tool.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Now, that’s so funny! When I read your first sentence, I smiled to myself. That’s exactly what happened to me! I started meditating and practicing breathing techniques way before I started yoga. Now I am envying mindful breathing in motion. I was searching for peace, for healing, for stability… Breath brings that all and much more. Now I started promoting mindful breathing on my blog and on my Instagram account. I am an new blogger. I am glad that there is an opportunity to share one’s experiences and interests with people of the same interests. I have an Instagram account (evaisco) and a Facebook page (Wise Living), as well as YouTube posts where I share my accomplishments and successes in fitness, and healthy living. I started meditating around 8 years ago. I read and studied many different schools and techniques, and I do practice mindfulness and pranayama. I practice yoga daily for half a year, and cooking vegetarian and vegan dishes. On my new blog I am sharing all this experience with everyone. I hope you can follow and find my articles honest and interesting. Thank you, and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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