RELAXING THE BODY WITH THE BREATH PLUS PRACTICAL APPLICATION
If you have practiced Yoga for a while then you have some direct experience of relaxation through the breath. In this fast paced world, being able to relax is not just convenient but necessary for quality survival. For me, exploration into the mechanics of body and breath is great fun and sharing insights is icing on the cake!
If you are currently in one of my classes, we will explore this particular mechanism of relaxation together. You can also try this exercise on your own at home with a little bit of information for visualizing the process:
- Begin lying on your back with knees bent, heels under knees. Or, if you have a bolster/cushion, place it under your knees with legs straight. Be comfortable.
- Observe the motion of your breath. Feel the interior spaces as your breath journeys through your trachea and into your lungs. Feel the opening of the rib cage as the lungs expand and the gentle swelling of the belly as the diaphragm descends. Then, feel your body hugging in toward mid-line, from the lower abdomen all the way up through the base of the ribs and finaly the highest ribs beneath the collarbones, pressing the air out of your body. Continue observing these abdominal waves for a couple minutes.
- Without tensing or gripping, begin slowing down your breath until you can count to 4 on both your inhale and exhale. Continue for a minute or two until you feel absolutely comfortable.
- Now, slowly lengthen your exhales by one count, without straining, until you can exhale for a count of 8 and inhale for a count of 4. It is of utmost importance to stay relaxed and take your time.
- Feel yourself giving up any thoughts or stress into the depths of each exhale as your body gives its weight to the ground. Continue for 3-5 minutes. You can build to 10 minutes over time, or until you drift off to sleep, if practicing before bedtime.
ONCE WE CAN CREATE THESE ABDOMINAL WAVES AT WILL THIS BECOMES AN EFFECTIVE METHOD TO RELAX.