Updated: Sep 20, 2020
“Do nothing but observe what is.”
How often do we sit and just observe?
Watch. Listen. Follow the sensations, without judgement, without labelling? Our breath is the most effective tool for doing this. Experience how it calms our minds, brings us inside, and how it fuels our postures.
The simplest, purest, often most forgotten, yet most essential essence of our being. Each breath is a journey of it’s own, no two breaths are the same, and during each journey, we can stop off in four very different places. Four very separate moments to visit, watch, listen, observe.
An incredible book by Mark Stephens guides us through the following questions. Find yourself in a comfortable seated position, open chest, relaxed shoulders, face still.
What does it feel like? What initiates the inhalation? Where do you feel the breath? How fully do you inhale? What changes do you feel across your heart centre, your face, between your temples as the breath draws in?
Full of breath
What do you feel at the crest of each inhale? What is the length of the natural pause? What sensations do you feel in the body? What fluctuations do you sense in the mind?
Where do you feel the movement into exhalation? Does the breath tend to rush out? How does the pace of the exhale change as the breath continues to flow out?
Empty of breath
What do you feel when you are empty of breath? how long do you tend to hold your breath out for? What is the quality of your awareness when empty of breath?
What is conscious breathing?
Conscious breathing is the most important aspect of Hatha yoga, physiological yoga. When we deepen it, we energise, strengthen, and lift our bodies. When we fill up with it, we focus and calm our minds. When we rest our attention on it, we slide into safety and grace. When we cultivate a regular practice of it, we strengthen our ability to regulate, repair, restore and recover (Tara Stiles, Strala Yoga).
Ready to create a little bit of space for you? Why not try our Live Online Yoga classes, bringing you accessible yoga for all, from our living room to yours. Sign up now for 15 days of free unlimited classes.
Carrie is a co-founder of The Frog Project, yoga teacher, and full time stay at home mum to two smalls. When she's not playing with the kids or practicing yoga, you'll likely find her in the middle of her veg patch, trowel in hand and covered in mud. She loves the outdoors, and would camp every night given the chance. She and her partner in crime, Martin, set up The Frog Project with the aim of bringing classical yoga to all, and deliver live online classes with a group of dedicated teachers, to students of all experiences, ages, shapes, sizes, jobs, lives, you name it, from all around the world. Join them now and get 15 days of free unlimited classes. It's just yoga.