When I started practicing yoga and meditation I turned to my breath as a guide for connecting with my body. Sometimes it’s not always easy to focus on my breathing and to be honest, sometimes it’s really uncomfortable and it causes some anxiety. In those moments, I recognize what I am experiencing and I just allow myself to do what feels best for me in that moment. I mention this because there is a misconception that breathwork is comfortable for everyone and that’s not necessarily true every time.
When I feel overwhelmed or just want to feel centered, I enjoy turning toward a breathwork practice. When I connect with my breath, it allows me to slow down my mind and body and to turn inward so I can listen to whatever comes up.
Last year, I wanted to deepen my understanding of breathwork so I started reading more about it. I discovered the work of Ashley Neese and bought her book, How to Breathe and it is an incredible resource! I enjoy the way she structured the book into 25 simple practices. Some topics include: pain relief, anger, boundaries, connection, sadness, self-healing, unwind, joy, gratitude, and letting-go just to name a few! I want to share one of her practices on Letting Go:
The Practice (p. 100)
Stand up tall with your feet hip distance apart
Put a slight bend in your knees and let your arms rest at your sides
Set your practice intention
Take a few cycles of breath through the nose to settle in
Inhale deeply while raising your arms up toward the sky
Hinge at your hips and release your arms down to the ground, bending your knees as you exhale a giant sigh through your open mouth
Repeat this ten times, being sure to inhale and sigh as deeply as possible
Rest for a few moments and notice how you fee
Close your practice
Another breathwork resource is Alex Elle. I’m a fan of all things Alex Elle related (books, journals, writing practices) and now she shares breathwork practices – yay! Check out her first guided breathwork practice: Being in Progress
Do you practice any breathwork? If so, how do you feel before and after? Do you find breathwork to be a helpful grounding practice?
~ Karisse C