Here is a brief description of the breathing awareness I prescribe. Farther below is an experiment to discover the possibility of greater breathing freedom but is not intended as a recommendation on ‘how to’ breath. The breathing exercises can be done at anytime during the 10 series. I recommend them as a general tool to added total relaxation and freedom to your repertoire.
Become aware of the movement caused by breathing. Maybe you notice your chest moving. Now, ask yourself is there another place moving because of breathing? maybe you notice your shoulders or some other place moving because of breathing. Now, ask yourself is there another place moving because of breathing? Possibly your arms. Now, ask yourself if there is another place moving because of breathing? Maybe your shoulder blades are moving. Now, ask yourself if there is another place moving because of breathing? Possibly your abdomen? Now, ask yourself if there is another place moving because of breathing? Possibly your lower back? Now ask yourself if there is another place moving because of breathing?Possibly your head? Now ask yourself if there is another place moving because of breathing?Possibly your lower arms? hands, Lower abdomen, hips, knees, upper legs, lower legs, wrists, ankles, feet, and so on.
Please do not consciously manipulate the breath in this exercise unless you can’t seem to notice any movement caused by breathing then I recommend taking one exaggerated breath and then beginning from there.
Breath Awareness 2
Here is a brief description of a way to discover the possibility of greater freedom in breathing. I add this as a general reminder and admonition to the generally taught belly breath of yoga- yes the belly moves in breathing but the lungs are in the ‘chest’ (really the upper chest cavity delineated by the diaphragm,the thoracic inlet and the ribs). The diaphragm will move and create pressure in the abdomen and expand the lung area by moving downwards in the body but the other area where the lung cavity can be expanded is by enlarging the rib area itself. Below is a description of how to sense this but again I don’t recommend trying to breath more into the upper cavity of the thorax but only to let the breath open these areas. LET is the operative word and really it means to let go of something you are doing already- namely holding the rib cage fixed. (possibly because someone told you to expand your abdomen-an easy way to do this is to hold the ribs fixed therefore forcing the diaphragm more strongly into the abdominal cavity. Wow! the intro is longer than the exercise.
Step 1- Side Breathing
Place your hands (or get a friend to hold their hands) on the side of your ribs. Notice and/or let the breath move their hands apart. You can do this all the way from the lowest ribs (which are usually right at the hipcrest) to under the arms (yes all the way up into the armpits).
Step 2- Front to back Breathing
Place one hand on your sternum(breastbone) and one hand on your spine between the shoulder blades. Notice and/or let the breath move your two hands apart. Often we steal from Peter to give to Paul so be very aware here – the hands should move apart.
Have fun breathing! Oh, and please don’t manipulate the breath. Let the body be free and the breath will do itself just fine. Your whole body will be moved by breathing. As the body is freer and freer, more and more of the time, the breath becomes subtler and subtler. Yes, it literally moves every cell in your body. Now, the question is- Can you feel it?
There are really only two mediums we are always immersed in: one is gravity the other is air. Can you see how important it is that breathing is easy?