The theme for this month’s practice series is.
It’s easy to get spun out on activity with the holidays, but the simple act of breathing can connect us back to our inherent wholeness, even in the midst of this busy season. Wholeness emerges naturally when we pause to allow things to be just as they are. This week, try this five-minute practice to connect to your breath and invite wholeness into each inhale and exhale.
This is a great practice to do first thing in the morning when you wake up, any time throughout your day, during a yoga practice, or even just sitting at your desk.
We’ll intentionally breathe into three main parts of the body—belly, ribcage, and upper chest—to invite full breath into the body. This deeper breath helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, making it great for stress relief.
You may notice some areas where your breath is full and easeful and others where it is more constricted. This is the beauty of this practice: It gives us an opportunity to witness in detail and learn where we can invite more fullness into our bodies. This isn’t about perfecting anything, it’s about cultivating intimacy with your breath.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms resting beside you. Take a few normal breaths, feeling the ground beneath you. (Or if you’re in the midst of your workday, you can to do this sitting right where you are.)
- Begin by isolating each area for three breaths:
• breathe into your belly for three breaths
• breathe into the center of your ribcage for three breaths
• breathe into your upper chest for three breaths
- Now, begin to practice the full three-part breath: on your inhale, fill your belly first, then your ribcage, and then your upper chest. On your exhale, let the air release first from your upper chest, then ribcage, then belly.
- Do this for 9 breaths, allowing the air to fully fill each area, inviting wholeness into your body.
Note: Remember that it’s totally normal to feel areas where the breath doesn’t feel full. This is simply good information about where you can invite in more fullness over time as you practice this. We recommend doing this 3-part breathing every morning this week, to connect with your breath as a foundation for your day.