There’s a practice in yoga known as the Complete Breath. It’s simple and utterly delightful. It aids the body systems, can calm, yet also invigorate to empower action, or be a soothing prelude to sleep.
Just a few are beneficial, but five minutes of complete breathing goes a long way in reducing mental clamour and disquiet. So let’s begin… Listen to the podcast above or read the practice below.
Make yourself comfortable. Take a few minutes’ rest.
Close your eyes. Let the mouth gently close and the back of neck soften.
Notice the nostrils, imagine them softly flaring.
Follow the breath as it flows in and out at the nose.
Let the exhales be softer, let the inhales be a similar length.
Allow the face to relax, the jaw to release… the shoulders to let go.
Imagine your eyes are wide, extending out towards the temples.
Let your brow be smooth and free of frown.
Notice what you see with your eyes closed.
Feel the passages at the bridge of nose, down the throat into the lungs, to be clear and spacious, with plenty room for the breath to move in and out.
Let the belly expand out with each inhale, and enjoy the steady rhythm of your breathing.
And now let your in-breaths gradually deepen.
Feel the chest widen as each inhale fills the vault of your ribcage.
Feel the belly draw back with the exhales, as your ribcage remains big… deep… and wide.
Immerse yourself in the movement and waves of your breathing, and soak up this power into every nook and cranny.
Mark with short pauses where the in-breaths turn into out-breaths.
Don’t labour. Make each breath as comfortable as possible.
Remind the face to relax and the back of neck to soften.
Allow yourself this time to create feelings of physical and mental space.
Settle into the rhythm of your breathing…
Imagine any unwanted cares being released with the exhales.
Imagine drawing in clarity, energy and joy with the inhales.
Presently… when ready… let go of controlling the breathing, allow your breaths to become softer and softer.
Then…when you’re ready… end the practice as you began it… calmly and gradually.