Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How I've been breathing... since April

image compliments of gardenblog

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?  How have you been breathing since April?

Normally, we don't pay much attention to our breath.  Even those who practice yoga may not stay with the breath throughout an entire practice, let alone an entire day!

Well, I am just like everyone else.  I don't pay that much attention to my breath.  However, thanks to my training in the American Viniyoga Institute Foundations Program, I've learned a great deal about my breath.  I'm able, with this training, and a great deal of willpower, to occasionally take pranayama breaks during my day.  I also try to do pranayama with every asana practice, though sometimes life intervenes there as well!

When I get anxious, I tend to knot up right around my solar plexus (center below the ribcage).  This shuts down lung capacity and movement, and my breath gets shallow and fast.  I also activate all the muscles that are healing from Bells Palsy (facial paralysis - that came with the birth of my son two years ago).  This undue tension is quite uncomfortable... but I didn't know that, or the fact that I had really strong chronic tension in my upper body.  I didn't know until I was able to contrast it with the expansive feeling that comes with a deep breath practice supported by asana.

I have a number of practices that I return to regularly.  
- A steady build towards this ratio: 10-10-10-10 using a metronome on my cell phone
That is, 10 sec in - 10 sec retain - 10 sec exhale - 10 sec suspension.
(Sometimes I get there, often times I end up at about 10-6-10-6 or 10-8-10-8)
- A very basic langhana ratio (reducing) ratio of 2-1-3-1
This one is great for an office setting with an unknown period of uninterrupted time
- Nadi Sodhana
This is an alternate nostril breath that helps balance me and gets me out of my thoughts and into my body.  This breath stimulates the nadi-s on the right and left sides of the body, part of esoteric anatomy.  And theoretically in that system, opening up the right and left nadi-s is a precursor to proper energy flow in the central channel.  This is the highest, most unobstructed form of energy, and yields tremendous personal power.

I'm just a beginner, of course, so I don't exactly have all of my superpowers yet.

I'll post more on how these practices affect my day, shortly.

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