You may be asking yourself, why learn how to breathe in a new way?
Here's the simple answer: because you were given the gift of breath. It is the first thing you do when you are born and the last thing you do when you die, so it's important.
Also, the breath is an entry way to self-trust and peace. When we use the breath as a way to steady ourselves, we become more deeply connected to our own truth and thus our own sense of freedom.
We are going to break this down into 2 parts. Part 1 is how to take a full and complete breath and part 2 is how to move it into all 4 directions. I urge you to consider reading both even if you feel like you already know how to take a full breath. My guess is there is something new in here for you.
THE NITTY GRITTY OF A FULL BREATH:
1) Close your eyes.
2) First, simply notice the breath -- resist the urge to do anything to it. Here are some things to notice: can you feel your breath? Is is shallow? Is it spacious? Is it short? Is it long?
3) Now find the base of the spine. This is the place where a tail is on a dog. The in-breath lives here -- it is where your gifts, your creativity, your joi de vivre resides. It is the place in our bodies where we draw the breath from the earth's body. So yeah, you want to be able to find that place! If you are having a hard time, rock the hips back and forth to wake it up. The area around the tailbone -- the pelvis, the abdomen, the belly -- this is your root.
4) Draw the breath from your root into your abdomen, up into your stomach, through your solar plexus, into the rib cage, sternum, filling up the lungs and the heart center, passing through the throat. See how slow, spacious and full you can make the breath in this step. Take the breath all the way up to the top of the head. Repeat this process of taking a full and complete in-breath several times.
5) At the top of your next in-breath pause for a moment -- the pause is important, it is the space and time between the in-breath and the out-breath, and it is the place where the breath unites. This place is filled with endless possibilities. We tend to rush through this space because it can be scary, but it's where inspiration and the ability to alchemize that inspiration into something unique lives, so hang out there for moment.
6) Let the in-breath find the out-breath and allow them to dance back down the spine as one united and seamless breath. Follow the same path that the in breath took up the spine but in reverse. Repeat this process several times.
Take 5- 10 full complete breaths :)
Now that you feel like you have found some ease in a full and complete breath, let's add in the directions. Why are the directions important?
THE NITTY GRITTY OF DIRECTIONALITY:
In order to feel like you matter, feel good, let go, and understand your uniqueness, practicing what it feels like to fill up from the inside out is essential. Being full of yourself in this way is a good thing. You get to meet the world with a deep sense of knowing and so things that generally scare you, trigger you, or make you feel small, they ease up and you get to live the life you know you are here to live.
7) Make sure you are either laying down on the ground or sitting on a chair or the couch -- somewhere you can feel contact between your spine and something else.
8) This time as you draw the breath in from the base of the spine and up, gently take the breath into the back of the body. Imagine there is a balloon inside of you and as you draw the breath in, the balloon inflates -- the entire balloon. Feel the back of your spine making more contact with whatever it is touching. The connection to the back of the body is important, it is your connection to something bigger than you -- the divine, the universe, source, god -- whatever you choose to call it. You want to be able to find some fullness there. Repeat this breath several times.
9) Lastly, we are going to see if you can stretch the breath even further by drawing the breath into the sides of the body. As the breath moves up the spine try and move it towards the sides of you. Next time you breathe imagine the balloon getting even bigger and rounder. Energetically, you are creating a safe space for your own self to dwell, your own energetic boundary.
Let's break this down from a body perspective so that it is clear: the front of the body is where we meet the world and it is the place most people move from. Culturally, it is the first place we learn to lead from -- how to fulfill our needs or wants. If you think of a flower, it is the place where the seed starts to push its way through the ground in order to become what it knows -- type, color. The top of the head is our connection to the fractal and ever expanding nature of the universe -- inspiration, ideas, insights. Our back body allows us to lean into something bigger -- trust lives here. The sides of our body symbolize our contact with everyone around us. How we treat other people, beings, the earth. This step is often forgotten and oh so important.
10) Most importantly, thank yourself. Subtle work is often the most profound work.
Live your freedom.