READING: Nutrition and communication move through your multiple body systems. Like tributaries of a primary river, these channels carry life energy and vital forces to and from the spinal column to the brain, organs, and limbs. Release stagnation; purify and nourish your body, your emotions and clarify your spiritual experience with a simple focused breath.
You can practice gentle breathing for many purposes and benefits: relaxation, health, self-awareness, and even deep meditation. Your breath is an expression of your life force. You can purposefully move this beautiful yet subtle biological energy with conscious, connected breathing.
PRACTICE: Find a comfortable position. You can lie on your back in an open posture or sit upright in a chair with your feet on the floor. Relax and close your eyes and begin to breathe naturally and smoothly, following your breath towards your body. Where is it going? What part of your body does the energy feel when it enters and leaves? Breathe for a while and watch.
Be gentle with your body, always breathe slowly and gently, without straining.
Now try to breathe into your lower abdomen. Place your hands on your belly, feeling it rise and fall, expand as you inhale, and relax as you exhale. Breathe like this for a while, becoming aware of how you feel as your lower abdomen receives energy. Relax your neck and shoulders, your forehead and your eyes. Relax your chest; feel your breath and your belly.
Then breathe gently into your chest. Feel your chest rise and fall with your breath. How do you feel when your breath moves through your chest? Fill your entire rib cage as the breath expands into your upper back and the sides of your ribs. Take several deep breaths into your chest. How you feel?
Now try to inhale into your chest and belly simultaneously, expanding your entire torso as you inhale and exhale. Exhale and go down your arms and legs. Imagine that you are releasing old, stagnant energies through your fingertips and toes.
Exhale and go down the spine towards the tailbone; inhale and move up to your head. Feel the river of breath on your spine. Feel your energy pouring out of your spine through the many tributaries of energy. Inhale and exhale gently for a moment and just notice.
DAILY OBSERVATION: Be mindful of your breathing as the day progresses. Pay attention to where you go as you inhale; how relaxed you feel when you exhale. Return your attention to yourself, stopping every now and then to breathe in and out simply and slowly, feeling your body.