Make Your Breath Your Ally
“Regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
Breathing gives and grounds all life. Understanding and working with our most natural instinct puts you well on your way to self-mastery. By changing the air within and around you, you can use breathwork to draw in power, regulate your expressions, and diffuse or influence an outcome. Your breath is your most important tool, and life gets easier when you sync with it.
From the moment we are born, a deep, well-circulated breath is our most basic life imprint or pattern. The more adult we get, or the more in our heads we become, the more thinking we do and the more we over-express verbally, and exhaust our exertion. We are socially hardwired headward, to make decisions with our critical minds and our egos. Instead of circulating nice rich, full breaths deep into our bellies, our focus, and therefor subliminal breathing, tends to constrict as shallow in our chest, shoulders and neck. The person most centered, breathing deepest, holding the most calm and knowing internal space is often the most influential in the group.
Bringing this energy back down into the core of your body, not only helps regulate your emotional and life stability, but it also physically circulates oxygen deeper into your body. Here your body starts functioning and feeling more powerful, and that sets the tone for everything. A deep, fresh supply of oxygen will always put you are more in control, more in the moment and more capable of thinking, acting and thus attracting with greater clarity and confidence.
EXERCISE: Breathing Practices
Imagine a sleeping baby breathing, as it brings air fully into its belly, expanding it like a balloon. Try to take one of these deep breaths, sending the air down and letting your belly rise before your chest rises, and fall before your chest falls. It may take a few times to get into it, as you may rouse muscles and areas that are not used to it.
Below are three introductory breathwork exercises. Try working these into a daily habit, or multiple times a day when possible. Before you still for these exercises, we recommend getting out any excess energy in your body, like shaking your limbs, hands, feet, or rolling your neck and moving your body around. Once you settle down, sit upright and elevated with your spine and neck straight and your face, tongue, jaw and shoulders relaxed. Once you become familiar with these breaths, practice them with your eyes closed.
Inhale through your nose, and open your mouth wide to exhale, sticking out your tongue as far as you can. Slowly release all the air through your mouth with a “haaaa” sound. This powerful breath offers a wonderful, intense release and refresh. It is a great way to wake up in the morning, as it clears stagnant sleep energy and it also awakens the muscles in your face. Try at least 3-5.
DEEP BELLY BREATH
Place the palm of one hand over your belly button, spreading your fingers to expand your entire belly bowl. Your pinkie extending down your lower abdomen and pelvic region, and your thumb extending up towards your solar plexus. Place your other hand over your heart. Take a few nice, big, deep breaths, bringing air down to your pinkie. Take a series of these breaths, feeling your belly expand before your chest rises and deflating first before your chest falls. Work your way up to 3 cycles of 9 breaths – it’s only a few moments for the expansion it creates.
Imagine sitting on the shores of a calm and peaceful ocean, feeling the pull of the gentle waves come in and out around your ankles. Taake some deep breaths and notice how similar the sounds of your breathing are to the sounds of the waves Visualize the serene timing of the waves, where nothing is rushed, and everything is in perfect rhythm. Steady your mind’s eye on the tranquil horizon, where the ocean meets a beautiful, clear blue sky. Inhale slowly through your nose and imagine the sea drawing in the water to recede it away from the shoreline. Exhale slowly through your nose and imagine the water crashing gracefully ashore. Keep strong, steady and slow breaths, channelling the powerful force of the ocean. With your exhales, imagine all that no longer serves you getting swept out to sea and with your inhales imagine all the goodness and treasures being brought in or washing ashore for you. Try to keep this visualization going for a minimum of three minutes. This exercise helps sync you with that natural rhythm of life.
Feel the expansion of the inhale until there is pressure or a tension at the top of the breath, hold for just a moment and exhale slowly, all the way until you feel a tension or pressure at the bottle of the breath. Hold for just a moment and inhale slowly with ease. Repeat several times. As you go about your day, try to maintain a background awareness of your breathing as you train yourself with this more expansive pattern as a natural breath.