Day 12 – full yogic breath

This morning I am dreaming of walking up a hill and into the sky. Kind of like The Little Prince. I am dreaming of doing yoga when I get a message and realise I need to actually get up and do some yoga.

This morning I am meeting my friend Angelina to take some photos for her clothing label, Eden, so I take 15 minutes of vinyasa and then sit in virasana to meditate. I give myself ten minutes, knowing that I will intuitively open my eyes after exactly ten minutes.

I start with long diaphragmatic breaths and then slowly build into full yogic breath. I inhale and expand the diaphragm from the lower ribs, then keep inhaling as my chest expands, all the way up to my collarbones, which rise gently. There is a tiny pause and then the breath flows out slowly from the collarbones, slowly down the chest, and finally the lower ribs come in. It is similar in movement to the spinal breath, but uses the full lung capacity. It is a relaxing way to breath that is perfect for meditation. At ten minutes my eyes open and I get ready to leave the house.

Most people only breath with a third of their lungs and if you watch people in an anxious state trying to breath, it’s always the collarbones that rise first. Taking the time to breathe in full yogic breath creates an environment where one can breathe with the whole lung, elongating the breath, slowing it down and exploring lung capacity. It is simple enough to practise and if unsure of how, try lying down and placing one hand on the upper abdomen near the floating ribs and one hand on the heart. Inhale and feel the lower hand rise, then the hand that is on the heart and finally the collarbones. The exhale cascades down, collarbone, chest, ribs, like a waterfall.

This is my favourite way to breathe and I can feel myself still breathing this way as I drive. It does take some consciousness to breathe in this way so I make the intention to return to it throughout the day.

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