Clear it out
We often think about breathing as being all about taking in fresh air, fresh oxygen. But equally important is ridding our bodies of toxins on the exhale.
Chances are, if you don’t practice deep breathing, toxins may build up in your body, causing you to feel sluggish and unmotivated.
How are we supposed to breathe for optimal health? Yogis call it belly breath. It requires relaxing your body all the way down into your lower belly to allow for maximum expansion of the lungs and movement of the diaphragm.
Need an illustration? Watch a sleeping infant. Babies are experts.
A sleeping infant‘s tummy rises and falls in a steady rhythm. Their little bellies expand like bread dough rising. Then they gently lower, as their developing lungs empty out what their bodies don’t need.
We can do the same thing and reap the health benefits of regardless of our age.
Here’s a simple practice we often use at the beginning of our a True Peace Yoga classes:
When you have time alone in a setting where you won’t be interrupted, find a chair or lie down on the floor or your bed. Loosen your waistband if it is snug.
Close your eyes. Place your palms on your belly.
Inhale slowly and deeply, letting your belly expand beneath your hands.
Exhale slowly, feeling your belly retreat as you release the toxins from your body. You might even visualize the toxins flowing outward, leaving space for fresh, life giving breath to return on the inhale.
Relax your face and your jaw. Release any gripping anywhere in your body.
Play with expanding the lungs and then emptying them as much as possible by engaging your abdominal muscles and allowing your navel to retreat toward your back body. Alternate deep breathing with a round or two of your normal breath.
Start out with a five minute session and work up to 10.
When your time is up, return to normal breathing and remain still for a few moments. Open your eyes and start moving your hands and feet, arms and legs until you feel ready to move back into your day.
Take a good full body stretch, reaching praise hands to the sky, and lifting the corners of your mouth into a brilliant smile.
Lord, as we breathe, make us mindful that You are in the breath and the breath is in us, therefore You are in us. As we inhale, we are filled with Your hope and as we exhale we empty ourselves of ego, waiting for that next breath of You to fill us again. May it be so. Amen.