Here is a very basic yet powerful breathing exercise for you.  Find even just five minutes per day to incorporate this practice into your daily routine and see for yourself the power of the breath to bring emotional balance.

If you are interested in yoga therapy and incorporating healing techniques into your life, I would encourage you to start a journal.  You can purchase a lovely new one for yourself or print off the journal page here and create a new binder for this purpose.  You can divide your journal into sections:  1) Asanas 2) Pranayama 3) Meditations 4) Journal.   This is a great way to build a collection of the practices I share with you.   Here is your first contribution for your binder:  Click here to print this Breath Exercise PDF and put it in your Pranayama section!  There is also a great journal page for you to reflect on your breath.



Pranayama: Extended Exhalation

When people think about improving their breath capacity, they almost always imagine that the focus should be on taking deep, impressive inhalations.  Although it’s counterintuitive, exhaling more fully will naturally result in a spontaneous deepening of your inhalations.  This is particularly true of asthmatics who shorten their exhalation in a misguided attempt to grab for more air on the inhalation.  Long, full exhalations tell the body that all is well and by consciously lengthening the exhalation we can trick ourselves into relaxing in even the most stressful situations.
(Source:  Farhi, Donna (1996). The Breathing Book. New York: St. Martin’s Press.)



Lengthening the exhale breath


Calming, Grounding, Breath for reducing anxiety, stress, tension and calming a racing mind.  Helps calm the body and mind.  Excellent for sleep issues and anxiety. 



Depression -If you are feelign sluggish and depressed in your mind, this breath will take you deeper.  If you are feeling anxious in your mind but sluggish in the body, you can use this breath in coordination with some asana (yoga postures) practice and movement to bring balance (calm the mind, energize the body).  (Note: If you are experiencing mixed anxiety and depression, we can use yoga therapy techniques to help you find emotional balance.)

Try it:

Take a comfortable seat or lie down on your back.  Follow the instructions below or listen to the guided version here on youtube:  



Close your eyes softly.  Listen to the sounds around you...  perhaps an airplane or traffic, or a fan in the room, the floors creaking...  whatever sounds you hear.

Now turn your attention inward and listen to the sounds within your own body.  Listen to your breath.  Without trying to control your breath or change it in anyway, just notice it.  Often simply noticing our breath causes it to become a little deeper ....   a little bit slower.    

Bring one hand to your heart and one hand to your belly -feel your belly fill with your breath.  
Now bring your attention to the length of your exhale breath -see if you can extend the exhale to be as long or longer than the inhale.  Do this without strain.  See if you can have a fluidity to your breath.    

We are not forcing or controlling the breath here -simply bringing an awareness to the breath without judgement.    Simply inviting the breath to fill the belly and then gradually releasing the breath -letting go -softly -sweetly.  The exhalation is an act of surrender.  Of letting go.  Of release.   Inhale to relax, exhale to release.

Your mind may wander to thoughts of other things -simply notice this and bring your awareness back to your breath.   There will be time later for other thoughts -take this time now to connect with your breath.bbBreathe in and breathe out   -extending your exhalation -surrendering   -letting go.Now gently inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth -haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  Return to your normal -automatic breath.   Gently open your eyes.  

Inhale to smile.  Exhale.  





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