Breathing With Intention November 18, 2011

We enter the world with our first breath and we exit this world with our last breath, but what are we doing between those two points of our lives?  Yes, we’re breathing, but what is the quality and depth of our breath?  Most people breath in the upper part of their chest never exploring the full possibilities of their lunges.  Sometimes the breath is even held while we focus on a task, or while we are working on a new challenge.  However, the breath can be a powerful tool if you’re willing to explore the possibilities.

During my classes this week we worked on a form of breath know as Viloma II; this breath helps to create heat in the body.  So, if you’re feeling low on energy, sluggish, or a little cloudy in the head this is the breath for you.  On the other hand, if you’re feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed you can try the cooling breath known as Viloma I.  I felt it important to share these breathing styles with my students this week since we are heading into the holiday season.  It can become easy this time of year to feel over stressed; which can then lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, as well as fatigued.

Take a moment right now and notice how you’re feeling.  Once you decide, select the breath that you think will be most beneficial for you in this moment.  Try 1-3 rounds of breath at first, eventually working you way towards 3-5 rounds.  Keep the breath even and smooth….not feeling tension or stress….allow your body to be breathed.  With each of these breathes imagine your torso is a glass segmented into thirds.  During the practice of the cooling breath you’ll be pouring the breath out of your torso…the breath will move from the top, down.   So, the opposite will occur during the heating breath….you’ll be pouring the breath into the torso….the breath will move from the bottom, up.

Viloma I (cooling breath):

Inhale deeply, hold the breath at its’ peak.  Slowly release the breath 1/3… pause…slowly release the breath another 1/3…pause…slowly release the last 1/3 and empty the breathe all the way out….slowly inhale…repeat this sequence.

Viloma II (heating breath):

Inhale deeply, release the breath all the way out and hold for a moment at the bottom of the breath.  Slowly inhale 1/3…pause…slowly inhale another 1/3…pause…slowly in the last 1/3….pause at the peak, and then release the breath all the way out…repeat the sequence.

After practicing each breath take a moment and notice what sensations you’re experiencing…..just note them, and notice how the experience changes each time you practice these breathing techniques.  Most importantly, remember to keep the body calm, the brain quite and the breath flowing.  Your breath is always with you, so call upon it to nourish, calm, heal, and energize the body whenever you need it.