Buddha
“The mind is everything; what you think you become.”-Buddha

Signature Daily Mindful Practice

Breath Element Instructions

This breathing sequence comes from the Mindful Body Signature Daily Mindful Practice. The breathing techniques when combined with yoga and meditation provide a means of connecting breath, movement and consciousness. This connection enables a relaxation of the body and calming of the mind.

 

Watch Video:


Getting Started:

1.  Set an intention for your Daily Mindful Practice Maybe you want to feel more peaceful or find some relief from a difficult time you're going through.  Ask yourself, what do you want to create for the day?

2.  Try to perform your practice at same time each day or evening.  Schedule your practice as you would any other event in your life.

3.  Practice in a cool, quiet location with minimal distractions if possible.  Dim the lights and turn off the cell phone. If possible, use this same location every session.

 

1. Abdominal Breathing (2 Minutes)

Abdominal breathing, also called diaphragmatic or belly breathing is the process of breathing air into the lungs using the diaphragm. Abdominal breathing is the most effective way to breathe because this delivers more oxygen to the body and is an excellent tool to stimulate the relaxation response that results in less tension and an overall sense of well being.

You can expect: to relax, reduce tension in the body, increase sense of well being.

Level of Effort: Easy

Time Involved: 2 minutes

 

Getting Started:

  1. Lie flat on your back and close your eyes.
  2. Place your right hand on your abdomen and keep your left hand resting at your side.
  3. Relax your whole body, your face, neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs.
  4. Inhale deeply through the nose and feel your abdomen rise and expand.
  5. When you've inhaled fully, pause for a moment and then exhale fully through your nose.
  6. As you exhale, feel your abdomen contract.  Let yourself go, imagine your whole body going limp.
  7. Repeat the breath, take 10-20 deep breaths in total.
  8. When you are finished, roll on your right side and rest for a few moments before pushing up to a seated position.

What to Consider:

  • Pause during inhalation and exhalations keeping the throat soft and relaxing the entire body
  • Keep your breath smooth and regular throughout the exercise
  • The exhalation should take twice as long as the inhalation

 

2. Full Yogic Breath (2 Minutes)

The Full Yogic Breath practice teaches you to breath from your belly instead of your chest. Breathing from the belly increases your lung capacity, promotes circulation, and sends more oxygen to the brain. This breathing exercise is one of the most effective methods for reducing anxiety and focusing your attention on the present moment. It also helps reduce high blood pressure, stimulate the digestive process, and regulate intestinal activity.

You can expect: to reduce anxiety, strengthen the immune system, release muscular tension.

Level of Effort: Easy

Time Involved: 2 minutes

 

Getting Started:

Breath drawing

  1. Sit comfortably with your back relatively straight.
  2. Begin by observing the natural inhalation and exhalation of your breath without changing anything.
  3. Place your right hand on your lower rib cage and place your left hand on your abdomen.
  4. Inhale through the nose, filling the belly up with air. Feel the expansion of the belly.
  5. Exhale though the nose, expelling the air from the belly.
  6. Draw the navel back towards your spine.
  7. Repeat this deep belly breathing for about five breaths.
  8. On the next inhalation, fill the belly up with air as described above.
  9. When the belly is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart.
  10. On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and then let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
  11. Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for about five breaths.
  12. On the next inhalation, fill the belly and rib cage up with air as described above. Then draw in just a little more air and let it fill the upper chest, all the way up to the collarbone, causing the area around the heart expand and rise.
  13. On the exhalation, let the breath go first from the upper chest, allowing the heart center to sink back down.  Then from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together.
  14. Finally, let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
  15. Continue at your own pace for about 10 breaths.

What to Consider:

  • Eventually allow the three parts of the breath to happen smoothly, without pausing, one breath flowing into the next


3. Bellows Breath (1 minute)

Bellows Breath, also known as, Bhastrika strengthens and balances the nervous system, bringing peace and tranquility to the mind in preparation for meditation.  During Bellows Breath there is an increase in the exchange of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into and out of the bloodstream. This action stimulates the metabolic rate, producing heat and flushing toxins and waste out of the body.  When done properly, Bellows Breath causes a feeling of invigoration. Bellows Breath brings many benefits to a practitioner.  However, in some health conditions this particular breathing exercise is not recommended.

You can expect: increases physical vitality, clarity of mind; activates and invigorates the liver, pancreas, spleen and abdominal muscles, thus toning the digestive system and improving digestion.

Level of Effort: Moderate

Time Involved: 1 minute

 

Getting Started:

  1. Begin by taking a few deep breaths.
  2. Next, inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed.
  3. Make your inhalations and exhalations the same duration, but as short and quick as possible.
  4. Try to do three in/out breaths per second. (This will cause quick movement of the diaphragm).
  5. Then breathe normally after each set of 3 in/out breaths.
  6. The first time you try this exercise, only do it for 10 to 15 seconds. Each time you practice this, increase your time by five seconds, until you get to a full minute.

Beginners: are advised to practice Bellows Breath at a slow breath rate, using 2-second inhalation and 2-seconds exhalation; (15 breaths per minute) with no force on inhalation and exhalation. With regular practice of this exercise the abdominal muscles will become stronger, so the speed can be increased to 30 breaths per minute, using 1-second inhalation and 1-second exhalation

Intermediate and advanced practitioners: may practice at medium breath rate (1-2 breaths per second) and at fast breath rate (3-4 breaths per second).

What to Consider:

  • Warning: Do not practice Bellow Breath (Bhastrika) if you are pregnant; have high blood pressure; have poor lungs capacity; suffer from a hernia
  • Warning: Be aware of hyperventilating, and build your capacity slowly
  • Use the Bellows Breath anytime you feel tired or sluggish to help increase alertness
  • We do not recommend performing bellows breathing close to bedtime, as it may invigorate your mind and make it difficult to fall asleep
  • Although bellows breathing is a safe practice, stay tuned in to your body during the process.  If you feel light-headed, we recommend that you stop for a few moments before resuming in a less intense manner

 

What to Consider:

  • Review getting started recommendations for breathing techniques
  • Journal your thoughts and experiences
  • Watch a video.  You may find it easier to be guided through, especially in the beginning. See the examples listed below in the Additional Resources and Articles section below.

 

Additional Resources and Articles: