Seattle Yoga Arts - August 2017
Breathe to Live

Image credit: Diane Hoeptner
Watch an infant breathing as it sleeps. You will see the movement of their breath in a soft, expansive belly and in a gentle undulation of the spine. Now watch a stressed out computer worker sitting at a desk. You will see breath that is short, very high in the chest, and you might see this person sighing or yawning a lot, trying to "catch up" on the oxygen their body is craving.

How did we get from the healthy breath of an infant to the distorted, unsatisfying breathing of most adults? More importantly, how do we return to that natural and fulfilling "baby breath" that we all deserve?"

We could ask these questions: Is it okay for me to have a softly rounded belly? Am I constantly sucking in my belly, trying to make it look flat? Take a look at the level of speed in your life. Is your day so tightly packed that there is literally no "breathing room?" Observe the way you live in your body. Have your shoulders succumbed to gravity? Do your lower ribs thrust forward, restricting your back ribs? Have the muscles of your spine given up the job of carrying you with dignity and extension?

We breathe about 22,000 times a day. Here's a succinct blueprint for breathing that supports your pelvic floor, engages your back muscles in breathing, and allows a more nourishing experience of your breath. Imagine that your ribs are a barrel and you are looking into the barrel from the top down. Are your front lower ribs thrusting forward? Guide your front low ribs to relax down toward your belly and you may feel your breath move into the fullness of your back body. Then let the whole barrel of your ribs expand out from the center as you breathe. You might place your hands around your side ribs to feel the three dimensional nature of your breath.

Breathing can become a graceful, integrated dance, and an abundant source of energy.

~ Denise
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