No.1 Yoga on the Run : The Breath
THE most important aspect of Yoga is the breath.
Our nervous system takes its lead from the breath. If we breathe quickly, in the upper chest, our body says “I’m stressed/panicky”. If we breathe deeply, using the belly (loosen tight trousers if necessary at the waist), our body says “I’m safe, calm, and able to heal myself”.
Unless the breath is flowing and steady, there is NO YOGA, so I can think of no better place to begin than by focusing on the breath.
If you can lie down, do. If not, sit comfortably. Feel your sit bones on the chair beneath you. Deliberately lengthen the spine up to the ceiling. Draw the chin slightly into the chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Take the shoulders down away from the ears. The arms are peaceful, hands in your lap, or on your knees. Settle yourself and turn your attention inside.
Begin to observe your natural breathing pattern … without making any changes. WATCH how your body is breathes … no judgement, just observation.
Slowly, for the next minute, we’re going to begin to create movement BELOW the navel -in the soft part of the belly between the navel and the pubic bone. Be patient … if you are used to breathing in the upper chest this could be an alien idea, so have a loving, gentle, curious approach and allow yourself to make mistakes.
The rhythm we are aiming to reach is :
As you INHALE, push the lower belly out as if there was a balloon in your belly
As you EXHALE, draw the navel towards the spine flattening the stomach
Persevere – remember some people take months to master this breathing technique. You’re doing great.
Once find this breathing style and rhythm becoming comfortable for you, begin to lengthen your EXHALATIONS. Ideally, the exhalation becomes twice the length of the inhalation – but without any stress or pressure. Allow the breath to develop in its own time.
When 5 minutes is over, rotate your ankles and wrists, roll your neck in a circle, walk around your desk, and come back to your task in hand
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