October 11, 2012
Autumn Breath Balancing
Balancing the body’s energy for this turbulent autumn season is imperative for embracing life with ease and grace. Many times when we feel anxious, retain tension, or are simply holding onto “stuff”, we subconsciously breathe harder in an attempt to find relief. When we try to breathe harder, we can take in more air…which only gives us more “stuff” to hold onto. What about letting go? When we create space within our bodies and minds, we are clearing out anything not needed for our daily growth of consciousness.
So, rather than taking in more air, I invite you to practice letting more out. With each cycle of breathe, consciously press out every last bit of air, maybe even pausing at the base of the exhalation for a brief retention (kumbhaka). Listen for your body’s intuitive sense, and whenever your body tells you it’s time to inhale again, begin to take air back into the body smoothly and mindfully.
Observe the effects of your practice without self-judgment. If your body and mind are still feeling agitated, or “revved up”, then practice sitting upright and blocking your right nostril with your thumb as you breathe only through the left side. Allow time for long, smooth breaths and notice how the body feels.
The left energy channel in the body in related to the moon, is yin in nature and has a calming, soothing effect on the body and mind. Whereas the right side is related to the sun, is yang and active in nature and has an invigorating effect.
So, when you are feeling less than inspired, a bit depressed or need a “pick-me-up”; practice blocking the left nostril and breathing through the right side only. Continue for 5-10 breaths and then breathing mindfully through both nostrils for a few breaths before integrating back into your day.
It is important to check in with your body’s energy throughout the day, and choose a pranayama (breathing) practice that suits you in this moment. If you experience light-headedness or dizziness, this is your body’s way of telling you it is ready to stop. End your practice by breathing through both nostrils, finding a natural rhythm, and re-visiting this self-examination at a later time. Happy breathing and happy balancing!