Connect with your inner-peace
There is a 'humungo' (a large) amount of tools out there about relaxation, de-stressing, meditating, energy, breathing, moving, not-moving, protecting, not protecting...it can be quite overwhelming especially if you feel like you are new to all of this 'energy stuff'
So in this blog we come back to our breath; where our life began! (according to some traditions)
'Breathe is the essence of life; it is sacred'
Many spiritual traditions are aware of this, and their action word for breath incorporates this awareness of the life energy in the breath. This energy is called 'prana' in the Hindu traditions, or 'Chi' in Chinese or 'Ki' in Japanese. This energy goes by many different names in the various cultures, countries and paths of consciousness on our planet. Yet it is the same. It is the energy of life - the energy of the breath.
'As you breathe in, your body takes on a charge of this energy. As you hold your breath your body builds this energy charge. As you release your breath, your body releases this charge of energy. This is a simplification of the science of breath, called 'pranayama' in the Hindu tradition. Yet, in its simplicity, there is much truth in the above statements about breath, for when we focus our awareness on the power of breath, we can regulate and change our energetic bodies.' Jonathan Goldman - Chakra Frequencies
Below are several different breathing techniques you can try. Explore which method resonates with you. Perhaps try a technique for a week or so, and a different one another week. It may seem strange that there is such a thing as 'breathing exercises' as breathing is a given. We are all doing it aren't we? Well some athlete's may tell you otherwise as that vital force can change their performance. So what about our everyday life? Can a few breathing techniques change the way we perform in life? It has mine. By becoming more conscious of our in breath and out breath can really tell us how well we are in our inner world. Are we short of breath with fear of fully take life in and allowing it to flow out? Are you waiting with bated breath for something to happen in our lives. Do you breath a sigh of relief when you finally get some time to yourself?
The breath not only brings essential life, but its rhythm is used to calm and focus the mind - watching the in and out flow of the breath is the basis of most traditional forms of meditation. You can transform how you feel simply by changing your breathing pattern.
Technique 1: Observe your breath
- Sitting or lying comfortably, close your eyes
- Just watch/observe your breath for a few moments
- Breathe into the upper part of your chest - notice what you notice
- Breath into the middle of your chest - just notice what you notice
- Breath into your belly - notice what you notice
You may find that the 'belly' breath tends require longer and fuller breaths which means that the diaphragm has become more relaxed. Feel your belly rising and falling with each breath in and out and notice how your senses become calmer and quieter. If it helps, place your hands on your belly and feel the breath that way.
Technique 2: Count In & Out
- Take in breath for 4 seconds (or 8 seconds)
- Pause for 4 seconds (or 8 seconds)
- Take out breath for 4 seconds (or 8 seconds)
- Take in breath 4 seconds
- Pause for 8 seconds
- Take out breath for 4 seconds
Technique 3: Nose & mouth variations (Sufi 5 element breath technique)
Relax, breathing your natural breath. As you do the breath pattern for each element in turn, attune with the cosmic element and experience its qualities within you. Experience the purification of your being on all levels: physical, mental, heart, soul, spirit. 5 breaths for each element, or longer.
Earth: Inhale nose, exhale nose
Qualities: nurturing, solidity.
Water: Inhale nose, exhale mouth
Qualities: fluidity, purifying, giving life.
Fire: Inhale mouth, exhale nose.
Qualities: enthusiasm, transmutation.
Air: Inhale and exhale mouth
Qualities: freedom, releasing from constructs, cosmic identity.
Ether: Very fine breath inhaling and exhaling through the nose
Qualities: ‘emotion of the soul’. Peace. Unity.
Technique 4: Alternate Nostril Breathing
There are variations to this technique so find the one that is suitable for you. This one is my personal favourite. If you start to feel light-headed or spacey at all, then stop the practice and return to it at a later time.
Make yourself comfortable and be in a relaxed seated position.
- Place your right thumb on the right nostril
- Gently breath in for x counts through the left nostril
- Place your ring finger on the left nostril and PAUSE for a moment (both nostrils will be closed)
- Release your right thumb and breath out for x counts through the right nostril
- Gently breath in for x counts through the right nostril
- Place your thumb on the right nostril and PAUSE for a moment (both nostrils will be closed)
- Release your ring finger and breath out for x counts through the the left nostril
This is one round
Repeat to as many rounds as you feel is appropriate e.g. 9 rounds or more or less
X counts is the number you feel is appropriate for you. Some people keep the count of the breath in as the breath out. e.g.
4 counts breath in; 4 counts breath out or
8 counts breath in; 8 counts breath out etc
Some people like to double count of the breath out e.g.
4 counts breath in; 8 counts breath out or
8 counts breath in; 16 counts breath out or
16 counts breath in; 32 counts breath out.