April 25, 2010
Exhale and Renew
In the yogic practice of breath control (pranayama), the exhale has a special function. While the inhale is stimulating, the exhale is relaxing. While the inhale is about bringing energy into the body, the exhale is about releasing stress, toxins, tension and pain. When we find ourselves in an agitated state, we have a tendency to not completely release our air as we breathe, and take shorter breaths and concentrate on taking more air in.
It is truly the exhalation that brings us into a more calm, centered state of being. Because of this, you can use conscious breathing as a break in your day. By focusing on your exhale, you can let go of the past and come into the present with a renewed commitment. Here’s how:
Sit up in your chair with your feet on the floor and a long spine. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Begin with expanding your belly as you inhale, and naturally contracting it as you release your air. Inhale through the nose, feeling your spine get longer and taller. Then exhale through your mouth with a deep sigh. As you exhale, visualize the moments of your day moving away from you.