Basic Conscious Breathing Practice
We all know that breath is vital. It is obviously necessary to breathe in order to live and that's what we know how to do from the moment we are born. But practicing conscious breathing can help us live better.
What do I do when I get angry? - Get mad. What do I do when I'm hungry? - I eat. I find that we tend to always rush for solutions. I can say for myself that when a problem arises, I would try to fix it, the sooner the better.
Today I will suggest not changing anything. What??? Yes.
Just noticing our breath pattern without changing it at all is a very important practice on its own. It can teach us a lot about ourselves.
We will practice changing our breath pattern some other time.
This practice is great in any moment in life, also during a challenging or restful yoga pose. It is a sort of meditation. If you find that your mind wanders in a long-held yoga pose, you can bring your attention gently back into your breath as explained below.
So, How Do I Practice Conscious Breathing?:
Start Now -
First close your eyes for a few moments, drawing your attention to your breath, then continue reading.
As you read the following, try to notice your breath without changing it (you can close your eyes after reading if it helps you concentrate):
- Are you inhaling from your nostrils or mouth?
- Are you exhaling from your nostrils or mouth?
- Which part of your body do you feel moving when you breath? (Your belly? Your chest? Any other part?)
- Which part is moving more dominantly as you are breathing - your chest or your belly? Maybe neither?
- How long is your inhale? (Count)
- How long is your exhale? (Count)
- Notice which one is longer.
- Notice which part of your body is tense as you are breathing and which parts of your body are relaxed? (Notice as many body parts as possible, including your mouth, your jaw, your eyes, your toes, etc. Even your teeth your skin, your hairs).
Try to forget what you learned about right or wrong breathing. For the time being, don't change anything, just notice. Also, be sure that if you are alive, your breath must be right in some way...
Do the same thing when you are:
At work - Set up an alarm for that time of day when you are usually very busy. When the alarm goes on, notice what is your breath pattern. (Ask yourself the same questions as above).
Rest Time - Notice what is your breath pattern like when you are doing a restful activity which you enjoy (watching TV/ drinking tea/ reading a book).
When you get Mad/ Upset - notice what is your breath pattern when someone pisses you off.
I warmly suggest you take a note of what you discover after each practice. You might reveal some interesting things about yourself.
And What now?
Perhaps this is enough for you. Or maybe you want to experiment with conscious breathing for a while. Just continue doing that.
It will be nice to notice whether you are a "chest breather" or a "belly breather", whether you are an "inhaler" or an "exhaler" and how you might be breathing differently in different situations in life.
Perhaps you feel like you can use your breath more efficiently. If you do, I advise that you go to a yoga class which places a lot of attention on the breath (Pranayama). And you can continue reading my blog posts about pranayama. This one, for example, explains a basic, yet challenging breath practice you can do at home.
Did you notice anything interesting? Do you have any questions? Please share in the comments below.