An exhale, an opportunity to let go of what no longer serves you, to clean stuff out and create space for something new. Feel stuck? This one will help you clear away the clutter and feel the potential of each vibrant inhale.
Understanding our connection to the five elements helps us find our balance. I feel like I connect to these elements through my Ayurvedic understanding of them. As I tune into how I feel I can use the elements as descriptors of what I feel in my body. They give me metaphors and visuals that guide me back to my centre.
This was recorded at the beginning of the “Off The Mat” class at Alchemy Yoga in Sept. What followed was a stimulating and thought provoking conversation on how each of experiences the elements in our own bodies. The audio is not perfect, but the sensations are visceral.
Yoga means Union. Translating that to something tangible is achieved when we can experience that union. That is why I love these experiential breath mediations. They are so much more powerful than trying to explain something in an essay or facebook post. Connect to the definition of yoga, to the union that it speaks of with this 13 minute experience. Sit with your body, your mind, and your heart to see and feel the language of their wisdom. Get acquainted with the sensations of the body, the emotions of the heart and the rationality of the mind. The combined wisdom from these innate sources is astounding. Enjoy.
So, how often, if ever, have you considered what exactly your breath is doing for you with each inhale to each exhale. My bet is it hardly ever crosses your mind. So that being said, lets explore. You know my fondness for metaphors, well get ready for Jill Novak’s simple explanation of breath. Give yourself 10 minutes to just inquire as to what your breath does in your body. I promise it is cooler than you thought. Enjoy.
Another one inspired by the fantastic Donna Fahri’s “The Breathing Book.” Let’s explore what the breath does with your organs. Bringing attention back to your organs is a beautiful way to redirect your nervous system back to its resting and relaxed/parasympathetic system. When we start to feel and sense our organs our breath automatically slows down and serves to assist all the workings of our organs.
Sometimes it helps to centre ourselves before we start movement. It helps to “drop in” and get connected before we move. For this inquiry, sit tall on a bolster or some support underneath you. Move through the process of dropping in, then allow your movement/asana practice to begin naturally from this place. Notice if this changes your practice, how you move, how you connect to your movement.
This one is self-admittedly difficult. It is strange to try to connect the diaphragm to the movement of the pelvic floor, and yet when this function can be in its optimal state in our bodies we have a huge advantage in function, stamina, and efficiency. When this connection works as intended we move in ease, drain less energy, and just feel like movement happens with more ease. Don’t feel too frustrated if it doesn’t come easily at first, there may be some layers that need to be unraveled first, go back to some of the earlier inquiries. To set up for this one, you may need a heartbed type pose, raised higher at the head, foot soles together with knees opening onto bolsters or blocks for support. This raised position brings comfort to the body and good access for the minds eye to see the pelvic floor. Good Luck.
Sometimes how we position our physical body is key to how we can find our natural breath. Often lying flat on your back is a bit restrictive and you need to support yourself along a bolster, a recliner, or even upright with your back against support. A position that allows your spine to be in a long straight line, not curved or extended, is what you are going for. Mess around with where your long spine and your breath meet. Then mess around with this next breath meditation.
The 4-sided breath is an amazing tool to sooth anxiety and stress. It settles the nervous system allowing the brain to feel calm, the body to relax, and the emotions to stabilize.
Want to dive into how you and your breath are actually connected? Increase your awareness of when and how your personal patterns are restricting your body’s ability to have full and strong breaths?
When we realize that our breath is not optimal, and we start to understand when it happens, then we can begin to shift it. I truly believe that if you breath right, everything goes right. Donna Fahri wrote “The Breathing Book” years ago, and my copy is dog eared and well loved. She leads us through breath inquiries to help us understand some of the common patterns our fast paced culture has created in our species. When we unwind these patterns we simple breath better.
The following breath inquiry is inspired from Donna Fahri’s Breathing Book.
Get settled and give yourself 10 minutes to see what you find in your body. I will lead you through 3 ways of noticing your own breath patterns. Move through them, then sit and notice how you feel afterwards. Notice if you feel any kind of change. Sometimes awareness is all we need to shift the patterns, some
times we need a bit more coaching and support. Yoga Therapy is all about helping you find that strong and unrestricted breath. It will help you make your workouts more efficient, reduce your recovery time with your physio exercises, and increase your stamina for your day of golf/skiing/hiking.
If you listen and can feel the changes in your body then simply start to let that awareness expand into the activities and actions of your day. If you can see the pattern but the unwinding isn’t so forthcoming, then find some support to help you get there – get Donna Fahri’s book or maybe book a yoga therapy session.