Breath Awareness Practice
- Create a quiet place where you can get comfortable
- Create a space in time – a few minutes will do – for you to be in your quiet place.
- Lie down comfortably on your back.
- Place both feet on the ground – so that your knees are bent and raised (this relieves your lower back and creates a soft space for breath).
- Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.
Begin to observe your breath – what do you notice about it?
- Where is it located? You can get some information about this by noticing the movement under your hands.
- How far does it reach into the body?
- How long is it?
- Do you notice a difference between the inhale and exhale?
- How long are the transitions between the inhale and the exhale?
- How do you feel physically while observing your breath?
- How do you feel mentally while observing your breath?
- How do you feel emotionally while observing your breath? You may find, for example, that you find either the inhale or exhale more comforting then the other.
- How do you feel energetically while observing your breath?
Yoga Mahapranayama or the Great Breath
- Stand with spine upright or sit in a straight backed chair.
- Lift your shoulders, then ease them down and back.
- Feel that you are opening your chest.
- Breathe out fully.
- Now begin to breathe in. Slowly imagine that you are filling up your belly first, but without forcefully pushing it out.
- Then let it come into the middle of your chest, feel the rib cage lift and open.
- Continue breathing right up to your collar bones.
- Slowly breathe out, starting at the collar bones, then emptying the chest and finally the belly, until you feel completely
- Be aware of every part of the process, as if you are watching it with your minds eye.
- Feel that you are breathing in life energy and light and breathing out tiredness, anxiety, and waste products. Don’t push
- Stay relaxed.
- Do this 3 times. As slowly as you can.
- After your 3 breaths wait for your breathing rhythm to normalise before you carry on with your day
- Practice Yoga Mahapranayama regularly, ideally every day, especially in winter.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Bring your right hand to your face.
- Place your thumb against your right nostril and your index or third finger to the left.
- Close your left nostril and breathe in through the right.
- Close the right and breathe out through the left.
- Breathe in through the left
- Close the left, and breathe out through the right.
- This completes one round of breathing. Repeat 4 times