Sunday, June 5, 2011
Breathing Project Step 2: Raising Your Vibes
We started the "Breathing Project" earlier this week with Awareness: Did you notice whether you were not breathing (unconsciously holding your breath) or actually breathing more often in a way that brings relief? This new awareness is important, so congratulate yourself! But here is extra credit: The point of the awareness is to bring yourself into the experience of the present moment, NOW, where life is lived.
Breathing Project Step 2 is about using your breath to Raise Your Energy, to raise your "vibrational level" as they say. Conscious breathing helps you exist in tune not only with yourself, but with the positive/higher vibration of the universe. Let's face it: You are most alive when breathing fully than when breathing weakly.
This is a two-part exercise. First, I want to introduce you to a breath that comes from the Kundalini tradition of yoga. My hatha yoga teacher calls this the "Hiss Breath." Think of a snake (and if you explore more about Kundalini, you will discover the meaning behind the snake coiled at the base of the spine that awakens the chakra centers up towards the crown of the head). Take a deep, full breath in through the nose and then exhale while hissing, a long, strong hiss until you have fully exhaled. Now, here the key is to customize the breath for how you are feeling right now: If you are feeling wound-up, stressed, hyper and overly stimulated, then you want your hiss to be quiet, slow, calm. If you are melancholic, tired, exhausted and can't quite get going, then give your hiss breath all you've got, hissing strongly and with gusto. You can use this breath to wake you up or calm you down.
Whole Body Breath
Stand for this second part, as you will engage the whole body for this breath. Stretch up and back slightly while taking a big breath in, and then drop forward with slightly bent knees, sweeping your hands near the floor and behind your legs as you breath a strong breath out. Breathe in again as you sweep back up and back, and breathe out as you drop forward. Up and down this way. Always breathe in through the nose, but you can breathe out through your mouth if it is more comfortable. Or, you can swing your arms from side to side at shoulder height so you breathe in to the right letting right arm extend a bit behind you and left hand touches your heart, then swinging to the left so your left arm is extended and right hand touches your heart as you breathe out. So you are twisting from side to side gently, letting your head go with your arms. Allow your hands and fingers to fully stretch from side to side, too, and it is a great chest opener.
Here is a wonderful sequence that demonstrates the sideways breathing above, from Yoga Journal's Home Practice pages (immediately after opening seated position).
These breathing patterns (and there are many out there) bring needed oxygen into your body. It awakens you, allowing your energy and vibration to rise and expand. You are fresher, more alert, and have nice endorphins and fresh oxygen to help you feel a bit happier as you go out into the world in a healthy and positive way, attracting more positive energy and opportunities!
As always, write and let me know what you are experiencing.
Here is a closing quote, by T.S. Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.