There are many different breath techniques that are used for a variety of different reasons. However, learning to be aware of your Natural breathing, to watch it without interfering in the natural process is the best place to start. Spend 5 minutes a day just watching yourself breathe. Don’t force it to be faster or slower, try and relax your body and just watch it happen. It will have a great impact on your well being.
The thing is, that most people, when they first start engaging with their breath try too hard, they make it too complicated. They tense up where they shouldn’t tense up. They control the breath when it should be observed. When in reality just placing a portion of your awareness on your breath bringing a light awareness of the natural rhythm of inhaling and exhaling of your own breathing is the most important skill to build.
It needs no special equipment, all it requires is to be mindful of watching yourself breathe. However if you are able to gently watch your breath the health benefits are amazing: Relaxation, a general relaxation of the diaphragms, greater absorption of air into the system, stress reduction, and a feeling of warmth across the body.
As I mentioned above there are many great breathing techniques that can be engaged like the one below called Mechanics of Breath. However do yourself a favor and engage Natural breathing which in essence is mindfully watching your own breathing pattern in a relaxed non intrusive way. So when you start to engage other breathing techniques you will have a good foundation.
What you can do:
gently close your eyes if you are in a safe place to do so.
Bring a portion of your awareness to watching yourself inhale and exhale.
don’t force it to be anything other than it is. It will change and regulate itself if you let it.
Try for 5 minutes a day.
Later you can bring in the imagery below and you will have a lifetime of breath work you can engage that will have a lasting impact upon your daily well being.
Mechanics of Breath
When playing with these 3 images focus on one for a while , then focus on the next image. At some point, you can play with all 3 images at the same time however it is helpful to build each image.
- 3 1/2 inches below your belly button and inward you imagine a balloon about the size of a ruby red grapefruit. As you inhale the balloon expands in all directions. As you exhale the balloon collapses. Notice I say collapses as opposed to contracts it is a passive image that you watch, you do not force the image.*** Note : If you happen to have a stomach ache or if you are in your menstrual cycle or if you have a headache bring your hands and the image of the balloon to just behind your breastbone.
- Imagine a glass tube that goes down the central core of your body towards the balloon. Suggest that the breath starts behind your nose in the center of your head. Your nose holes are just convenient openings. When you inhale and exhale you feel the air traveling down the glass tube and then it goes back up the glass tube. Kind of like an upside down eye dropper with a wide opening. This is the pathway of the breath.
- Imagine that the air is alive. Suggest to yourself that the air is breathing you. It is comprised of millions of finely spun silver and gold threads that go down the opening in the glass tube fill up the balloon, then when there is no more room they go right back up the tube. Then they go back down the tube as you inhale. and continue breathing you. This is the spirit of the breath.
The goal of Mechanics of breath is to reintroduce yourself to the unencumbered breath of a child. By engaging the image of the balloon, it helps to relax your stomach and the diaphragm in a very relaxed way. Remember you don’t want to force your breath in any way or try and exert control . By engaging the 3 images your body/mind reorganizes the way it interacts with the natural process of breathing. The light touch is the right touch. This is a fundamental exercise in meditation and mindfulness. Learning to engage natural breathing has many health benefits, including relaxation and better oxygenation of your blood stream. All you need to do is to lightly engage the images. Have fun!