I am so grateful to have found Yoga for it introduced me to finding my breath. Prana. Our life force. I think for the first two years of practicing Yoga, I was all about the postures and just trying to keep up with what I was being instructed to do. One day I was finally able to sync my breath with the postures and it conscious breathing has now become quite a regular activity for me! The best part is : You can do it Anywhere! I came across these breathing exercises worth sharing. These are the basics baby! I like how it is broken down into times of day:
In the Morning...
5 minute three-part breath
exercise before getting out of bed:
- place your hands on your belly and breathe deeply into your abdomen - at least TEN slow breaths.
- Next, plce hands on the rib cage and breathe deeply into the belly again - allowing the breath to rise up into your rib cage - at least TEN slow breaths.
- Finally, place your hands underneath your collarbones and allow the breath to move first into the belly, then up to the ribcage and finally expanding into
- When you exhale, the movement of the breath is always in reverse - exhaling from top to bottom.
Whenever you remember throughout the day... A Centering Exercise:
- sit comfortably, with your spine nice and straight
- close your eyes and exhale the sound "AHhhhh" three times (find a private place as most of us don't feel all that comfortable "AH-ing" aloud, but let me tell you -it's amazing what a load off it takes!)
- begin to notice the breath (is it shallow ? deep? quick or slow?)
- After a few moments of breath awareness, move your attention to your feet and perform a body scan from the feet right to the top of the head - resting for a few moments on the ankles, knees, hips, etc. - the body's joints)
- Once you've completed a scan of your physical body, notice your thoughts and your mood. Simply notice without judgement.
- Finally, bring your attention to the center of your chest where your heart lives, and hold your awareness there for a few moments
- Let everything go and slowly open your eyes and continue on with your day!
At night, before going to Sleep.....
- take 5 minutes and perform an inventory of your day
- Remember what you said, what you did, and how you felt during those moments.
- Notice what made you feel good about your day and perhaps what you didn't feel so good about..
- Be as honest with yourself as you can be
Self awareness exercises can sometimes bring up things that aren't necessarily comfortable, or things that we want to face. But remember to have courage! Self-Knowledge is Power. It gives us power to truly know ourselves, to face our selves, and to become who we really want to be and who we really are.