Enhance the quality of your day, your connection to self, and your relationship to all that is around you by taking the time for conscious breathing. Breath is our life force, and deserves gratitude and attention for giving our bodies all that it does.
Conscious breath can reduce anxiety, increase lung capacity, allow us to be more present from moment to moment, and more. We appreciate taking a deep breath in the fresh air. We puff and pant when exerting ourselves. And during exercise, we may focus on engaging the abs upon exhalation, or we may not think about it at all. Breathing is a complex, multi-dimensional activity.
Challenge yourself to feel your breath in new ways, and to experience the options for conscious breathing that are available throughout the day.
- Breathe into your back body. Lie face down on a mat. Place a towel or rolled yoga blanket under your sternum and parallel to your spine, continuing downward toward your pelvis. Place hands one on top of the other, palms down, and rest forehead on top of hands with elbows out. This position gently restricts the movement of your sternum to help facilitate breath into the back body. Now, breathe into your back ribs, expanding them wide and up toward the ceiling. Focus on how your breath expands your back body. Continue for 8 breath cycles.
- Breathe into your full torso. Find a comfortable seated position and sit tall with a long spine. Breathe naturally and observe how your breath moves your body. Now, inhale; draw the breath up the front body. Exhale; draw the breath down the back body. Continue for 8 breath cycles.
- Breathe into your pelvic bowl. Find a comfortable seated or standing position. Take a moment to feel your hip bones—those bony protuberances at the top of your hips. Imagine a line connecting those bones and continuing around your entire torso to make a full circle around your waistline. Now image that this is the top rimmed edge of a bowl, and the edges and rounded bottom of the bowl is your pelvis. This region is referred to as your pelvic bowl or your “girdle of strength.” With each inhale, allow your breath to press down into the bowl, to connect the image with the sensation of breath action in your lower body. With each inhale, imagine filling it up like a balloon. Be gentle: resist the urge to create intra-abdominal pressure. Think about filling it up gently and slowly, instead of trying to pop the balloon. To breathe into your pelvis is to breathe into your center of gravity, your body’s epicenter.