This simple, relaxing breath can be used any time you want to soothe body, mind, and spirit. I taught it recently in my Yoga for Chronic Pain class, yet it reduces stress of any kind—physical, emotional, or spiritual.
- Lie on the floor, in bed, or any place else you can be comfortable without falling asleep. Your knees can be bent or draped over a bolster. If that’s not comfortable, you can also elevate your shins on a chair. Any position is fine, as long as it’s physically comfortable and your spine is in a neutral position.
- Notice the sensations of your body, without labeling them as “good” or “bad.” Just be present with those sensations. Surrender your weight into the earth and feel tension drain from your body.
- Place your hands on your stomach and consciously breathe as if you were breathing into your belly. Notice how your belly gently expands with every inhale and relaxes with every exhale. Invite your mind to be in this present moment, not concerned with the past, not worried about the future. Every time your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the feeling of the breath in your belly.
- After a minute or two, begin to lengthen your breath. Take several breaths to deepen each inhale and exhale, focusing primarily on a slow, complete exhale. When you find a rhythm that feels deep, yet smooth and easy, continue breathing at that length. If at any point you feel a sense of strain, shorten the breath again until you find a length that feels full, yet relaxing.
- Continue breathing this way for approximately five minutes, and then gradually return your breath to a new, uncontrolled rhythm. Notice the sensations of your body again, still trying not to label them as “good” or “bad.”
- When you’re ready to transition back to your day, begin with small movements, such as wiggling your fingers and toes or even yawning and stretching. Then roll to your side for a moment before gradually pressing up to sitting.
This simple practice is one of my favorites for soothing both physical and emotional
discomfort. I hope you enjoy it!
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