We can all breathe. We all do breathe, but do we consciously breathe, or is it a completely unconscious act? Does your breath make you more alive or does it just keep you alive? Breath is the most basic, the most natural form of nourishment to the human body. Breathing slowly, consciously, and deeply can have truly profound effects on your psyche. It puts you in a different frame of mind, one that is, like the breath, aware, healthy, and relaxed.
Taking a little time each day to breathe consciously will have substantial effects on your well being. Conscious breathing can be done anytime, anywhere (as long as you are actually conscious). A great goal to aim for is to always be conscious of your breath, no matter what you’re doing. To get the rhythm and flow of truly healing breathing down, you’ll want to practice in a private place, undisturbed. Laying down, sitting down, or doing yoga, it doesn’t matter what you choose to do while practicing your breath, as long as you are comfortable.
The breathing sequence is simple. First, you’ll feel air enter through your nostrils. Bring your awareness to your nostrils. Then, as the breath flows downwards into your body, feel your chest begin to expand. Fill your chest with oxygen. When your chest if fully expanded, feel the breath move deeper down into your ribs. Feel your ribs expanding with the flow of healing breath. Then, begin to fill your belly. Feel it expand. Fill, fill, fill until there’s no more breath left to be breathed, but don’t strain yourself. Remember, this practice is supposed to be painless and pleasurable.
As you exhale, start with your lower belly. Release slowly the breath in the belly. Then, bring your awareness to your ribs. Feel it moving through the area between your belly and chest. Now the chest begins to release its breath, fully. Last is the nostrils. As you may have noticed, you inhale in one direction and to exhale, you just retrace your steps. Inhale order: nostrils, chest, ribs and belly. Exhale order: belly, ribs, chest, nostrils. Easy!
Do this for as long as you like as often as you like. You’ll feel renewed, revitalized and refreshed. You’ll want to do it again. The more often you practice, the more often your body will breathe slowly and deeply on its own outside of your practice. It may surprise you that such a simple practice can have such a profound and immediate effect on the body. It seems so simple, and it is, but it’s a difficult skill to master! Good luck and good health!