Monday, March 03, 2008

What Does My Breath Mean?

I sent this email to my Master Class group. (I teach a group of teachers once a month. We study one pose in-depth and then do Pranayama). I had a few comments on what I said so I thought it would be helpful for others so I am posting it. Hope it helps you better understand yourself. I am including the links to the breathing exercises I refer to in the post. Enjoy them!

Getting to a deeply open and relaxed state for both aspects of your breath (inhale and exhale) is essential for moving forward with the breathing into more complex breathing exercises. Begin with the exhale breath and work with that one until you have been able to do it comfortably for 5 sessions in a row, then do the inhale. Be patient! You may be comfortable right away or it may take you 12 months. It doesn’t matter. Be where you need to be.

As you experiment with the breathing, remember what they represent and use what you find to deepen your learning about yourself. The inhale is the stimulating aspect of the breath, it is connected with the sympathetic nervous system (the “on” button for us). It stimulates the stress response. The exhale is the relaxing aspect of the breath, connected with the parasympathetic nervous system the off or relaxation response. Ideally, we want to be balanced between on and off. What are you discovering about your inhale and exhale? What is that saying about your own stimulation or relaxation?

Also, on a deeper, more emotional level, the inhale represents the ability to receive and the exhale the ability to give and release, and surrender. How well do you receive? How well do you give? How well do you trust, deeply, in the Universe?

Be sure you begin a journal to track what you learn. You are headed down an amazing journey and you want to remember what happens.

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