Greetings Dear friends
I have been enjoying the glorious weather taking my yoga and meditation outside, it certainly adds another dimension to my practice. I am off to the Highlands of Scotland for a few days next week and wanted to share with you the art of sitting and breathing before I set off, you may find that you can then have a few moments to explore and relax somewhere in your own haven of peace!
Your lungs need space to be able to expand fully in breathing exercises. Sitting with your spine perpendicular to the ground, your head upright and shoulders relaxed gives them space. It also aids concentration and calmness, while promoting energy flow throughout your body. The steadier your sitting pose, the more focused, calm and energized you’ll feel. Try to remember that perfect posture is effortless – if you ever feel any tension in your body while you are sitting to practice breathing exercises, stretch out your legs and adopt a more comfortable pose. It is important not to force your legs (or any other part of your body) into painful positions. During breathing exercises, either rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing upward, or place them in the classical yoga hand position for breathing exercises, known as Chin Mudra. Simply join the tips of your thumb and forefinger of each hand and rest the backs of your hands on your knees.
An easy cross-legged pose (SUKHASANA – TAILOR POSE) will provide a firm base for your spine to lengthen out of and encourages your mind to stay focused. With practice, tightness in your hips will lessen and your lower-back muscles strengthen. Relax your eyes, whether they are open, closed or somewhere in between.
1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed in front of you. Make sure your knees are no higher than your hips. If you are a beginner or your hips are stiff, sit on a cushion, yoga block or folded blanket. this lifts your buttocks and releives tension in your lower back and hips.
2. Check your body to make sure that your back is straight, your shoulders are relaxed and your head is upright, with your chin parallel to the ground. Rest your hands on your knees, either with your palms facing upward or in Chin Mudra.
When you feel ready to continue, it may be easier to now close your eyes in order to watch your breathing rising and falling. Do not do anything else, and do not try to change its natural pattern as you begin to slow your breath.
Gently seal your lips and inhale through your nose. Feel the air entering your nostrils and moving past the back of your throat. Picture it moving down your trachea, or windpipe, into your bronchial tubes and then entering and filling your lungs.
At the end of the in-breath, notice a momentary pause in your breathing as your in-breath “turns around” to transform itself into your out-breath.
As you exhale through your nose, be aware of your lungs emptying themselves of air. Visualise your breath moving up past your throat and out your through your nostrils.
Feel a breeze on your upper lip at the end of the out-breath. Then notice the slight pause as your out-breath stops for a moment before becoming the next in-breath.
Now repeat, but as you take each in-breath, visualise yourself drawing in energy into your body and on the exhalations consciously release any tension, tension of the day or residual tension, breathing out impurities, including carbon dioxide.
Keep watching and listening to your breath, noticing that as it becomes calmer and slower, your mind, too, feels calmer and slower.
Try to sit for 10-20 minutes with your mind completely focused on your breath. Whenever your mind drifts off, bring your thoughts back to you breath. Lastly, stand up, stretch and notice how much calmer you feel.
Before I sign off, keep watching my NEWS, I will be posting details of a December Workshop soon and more information for the October Workshop, spaces are limited, so be an early bird!
‘In me I have found only one reality: that I breathe in, and I breathe out. And so anything that breathes in or out is reality. When I found this as a reality in everybody, I found myself in everybody and everybody in myself.’ YOGI BHAJAN (1929-2004)
Harmony, Happiness and Health to you all.
Embrace your pratice and enjoy.
With Love and Best Wishes