It’s been said that we’re given a finite number of breaths, and, that in order to live a happy and contented life we must make the most of each one. In yoga, the biggest hindrance to progression is shortened, or ‘stuck’ breath – conditioned breathing patterns that need to be worked and played through to allow the body to release stored tension. We see similar restricted breathing in many of our shiatsu treatments – stressed or sedentary lifestyles can lead to all manner of respiratory ailment and illness. The antidote to this is to cultivate awareness of what it means to breathe full, conscious, nourishing and cleansing breaths.
This can be done incrementally, by taking a few moments each day to focus:
– Focus on the sensation of the breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils.
– Focus on using the full capacity of your lungs, feeling your diaphragm draw down and your ribs expand. Breathe in 3-D.
– Focus on drawing in just a little more air on the inhale than you’re used to, and try to empty your lungs on the exhale just a little more than you’re used to.
– Focus on maintaining a relaxed face and a sense of ease. Lying down, with one hand on the belly, is a great place to do this.
With more and more practice, you’ll find the breath is a wonderful tool that can help ease tension during periods of anxiety and stress. It’s a great way to both start and end the day, and it’s also known to result in an increased frequency of smiles and improved quality of life.