One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn how to breathe through your belly. It’s a simple way of calming your nervous system and cultivating a deep sense of relaxation and inner peace.
Your breath is always there with you. There’s nothing to buy, no place to get it from, no special clothes to put on. You can tap into it at any moment. It’s better than a chemical substance or acting out compulsively to shift how you feel inside, and without any negative side effects to boot. All that breathing through your belly will cost you is your time, your attention, and your patience. And if you don’t think you have much of the latter, it’ll help you to cultivate it, with each rhythmic breath that is breathed in the practice.
Belly breathing is done when you allow your breath to move in and out of your belly with a soft, focused attention. It can be done lying down on the floor or sitting up in a chair. It’s a popular practice with those who want to enhance their connection to their breath, to detoxify at a cellular level, to learn to relax and to deepen their connection to the Stillness within.
It’s also a practice that is particularly important for those who have experienced psychological trauma or who are recovering from addiction. It’s deeply relaxing, and helps to create a feeling of psychological safety inside. And besides, breathing through the belly in a slow and rhythmic way simply feels good to the bodymind. This is reason enough to practice.
You’d need nothing in particular to get started. No special outfit or fashionable water bottle (not that there’s anything wrong with either). Just the willingness to travel inward and be present to your breath in your body.
Would you like to give it a go and see what it’s like to belly breathe? If you do, then here’s what you can do. If you have a Yoga mat, consider lying it down in a favorite spot where you can be alone with yourself without distraction. If you don’t have a mat, then laying down a blanket on the floor would work just fine. You can gather up a foam block or a pillow and put it beneath your head, that would be okay too. You might even want to cover yourself with a blanket. Once you’ve got everything together, then click on the link below. It’ll take you to a special (unedited) audio recording, close to 15 minutes in length, that’ll guide you through a belly breathing practice. So, if you’re up for it, do what you need to do to get ready, and I’ll meet you on your mat. Note: This is a slow moving practice. Please give it your undivided attention -and stay safe.
At the end of your practice, consider taking a moment to reflect on what the experience was like for you. How did it feel to be breathing through your belly? Where did your mind go? How did you feel after the practice was over? I welcome any thoughts you may have about belly breathing in general, or the audio practice in particular. Reflecting on how a practice makes you feel is as important a part of a Yoga practice as is the practice itself.
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If you love your body, it’ll love you back with good health. If you love your breath, it’ll love you back with inner peace. If you love your breath as it moves in, and through and out of your body, and do so with the same devotion you’d give to a beloved friend, you’ll have started a love affair that’ll only deepen over time.