A practice for breath awareness:
Find a comfy warm spot.
Lay on the mat in Savasana (flat on the floor) – you may prefer to sit – you may prefer to try this lying in bed.
Begin by taking the attention to the breath and the heartbeat.
Take a moment to arrive in the space you are in.
This action – or lack of it – may be enough to aid your calming and relaxation process. If that’s the case, don’t search for more. Be happy that you are in a good place in the mind and body.
Become more aware of the breath and inhale gently and softly through the nose. Allow the outbreath to be equally as long as the inhale – or maybe a little longer if that feels comfortable for you.
It can be useful to breathe in to the count of 3 and out to the count of 3. This helps to focus the mind on the breath and away from external distractions. If you become uncomfortable, return to your free and normal breath at any time.
Next notice where you are breathing – in the chest – the belly?
Try directing it consciously first to the belly then the chest. Notice how the belly expands, and how the movement creates subtle movements of the hips in their sockets, or the gentle tilt of the pelvis. If you are holding tension in these areas the movements may not be happening.
Take the awareness and focus to these areas and try to relax as you exhale. With a little patience and practice these movements will become apparent as you tune in to the body.
Notice when the chest expands how the ribs lift and widen and how the shoulders are able to move in the joints.
This is the body’s natural way of creating space and movement in the joints and is perfectly normal. Observe a young child or baby as they are sleeping – young enough not to have learned the sensation of holding tension or subconscious restricting habits. You may be able to recreate this special free breath in your own practice.
When you feel comfortable with this gentle breathing you will be able to do it anywhere and use it for your own wellbeing and relaxation. 5 or 10 minutes every day will have you doing this without having to think about it.