Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Conscious Breathing

The following breathing technique is something I recommend you practice every day. It can be done in bed, lying on the floor or, as you become familiar with accessing and breathing into the lower lobes of your lungs even when you are sitting. The benefits are deeply relaxing, it shifts the nervous system into the parasympathetic, which means a state of deep relaxation.

Most of your active working day you will be breathing and utilising the middle lobes of the lungs, this is the breath that gets you up in the morning, showered and out into the world.  It also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system so your body is on alert. This is great but it needs balance because if you don't switch back to lower lobe breathing you will exhaust your body, it is that simple.

We are not designed to constantly be doing which is why in the path of yoga they put rest in, otherwise we simply run out of energy and crash. Despite modern man devising all sorts of medications to keep us going while disguising the bodies intelligent messages to stop I need to rest, we try to artificially keep going by taking drugs and other stimulants. The result leads to more than just crashing, it leads to dis-ease (dis harmony) of mind and body.

Relaxing Breathing Meditation

Lie down on the floor with the appropriate support.
If there is any back pain, then bend your legs, resting your feet beneath your knees. If your neck feels uncomfortable place a small bolster beneath.

Close your eyes, relax your facial muscles and bring your attention to the breath. Rest one hand gently on your lower belly, just beneath you navel and the other hand resting beneath your lower back. Your hands will find a natural resting position here.

Bring your attention to your breath, do not feel the need to change your breath in any way or form simply become the observer of your breath. Notice if there is any movement beneath your hands, perhaps the hint of a gentle swell.

Remember a deep breath is a quiet breath, almost indiscernible from the outside. Deep reflects going deeper and lower in the body, not using your external upper body muscles and tensing your facial muscles.

Now invite each inhalation to be drawn into your lower belly softly expanding the belly upwards, while simultaneously releasing the tension you are holding onto in the lower back, allowing the lower back to gently lift away from the floor.

As you exhale allow the belly to empty feeling your upper hand receding into your belly and your lower back returning to the floor pressing gently into the back of your hand, let go of any tension you may be holding in the lower back. Wait for the next inhalation to arise and repeat the cycle of the belly gently expanding on the in breath, lower back releasing away from the floor and on each out breath, the belly emptying as the lower back returns to the support of the earth. Feel your body riding the wave of extension arising from the breath, much like a wave in the ocean, gently drawing in and then receding, no effort.

Allow your hands to impart and encourage this free flowing movement, once you feel comfortable with the rhythm you may like to rest both hands on your belly or palms up alongside your body. Do not allow any thoughts disturb you, breathe.


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