by Christine Streveler, Owner, Your Soul Shine
Yoga 101: Just breathe. It’s that simple.
No one actually cares if you can touch your toes. Truly, if you can only choose one yoga technique or exercise to incorporate into each day, it should be consciously breathing.
It sounds so simple. Yet, it is so powerful. Especially, in times of COVID-19 and mask wearing where the breath has become a source of fear or stress at times.
Breathing exercises can positively affect your mind, body and spirit, especially in times of uncertainty or anxiety. They can help keep you centered, focused and internally in tune with yourself.
Above and beyond that, did you know that when you breathe your diaphragm massages all your internal organs, including your heart? It is the only organ that massages your heart! If that doesn’t get you inhaling, I don’t know what does.
That old saying of “Let your belly fill with air” … it’s not air, it’s your diaphragm expanding and your internal organs making room for it because the diaphragm is actually one of the largest muscles in the human body. Found within the ribcage, it helps to protect the heart and lungs — our life force.
Here’s a simple breathing technique that anyone can do anywhere.
Ground yourself in a comfortable position somewhere you feel good. Focus. Close your eyes. Bring your awareness on your normal breath.
Place your hands on your chest, over your belly button or comfortably in your lap. Set an intention or goal for yourself. (Examples: “live lovingly” or “feel gratitude”). Breathe in and out — possibly letting out a small sigh with each exhale.
You can use the mantra “inhaling peace and calm” then “exhaling tension and anxiety.”
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so:
- Breathe in for a count to six.
- Hold this breath for a count of four
- Exhale for a count of six
- Do it deep and strong for a count of 12 (if you can)
Breathe just breathe, and reap the benefits of this simple-yet- powerful exercise.