A few weeks ago, I was cuddling my baby grand-daughter. She was laying face down on me fast asleep. Iím sure many of us have experienced the simple joy and calmness of holding a sleeping baby Ė of course itís also nice to hand them back to their parents when they start crying!
I noticed the rhythm of her breath and found myself breathing in time with her Ė it was a wonderful feeling of synchronicity. I felt very connected to this lovely little part of me.
I couldnít help but notice that her breath seemed to fill her whole body Ė with each breath in I could see her ribs expand- her little body would lift up and relax back down with each out breath. I often ask my students to use their inward breath to inflate their belly and expand their rib-cage. I want students to think about lifting their back and shoulders (as well as their chest and belly) as they breathe.
So, here was my grand-daughter, at only 4 months old, breathing like a yogi. Of course, this isnít a huge surprise as her mother and grandmother are both yoga teachers and she is already attending yoga classes.
We can all learn from my grand-daughter. When you practice your belly breathing you should try to expand your whole rib-cage Ė itís not just about lifting your chest and shoulders, think about how your whole body moves with each breath.
Belly breathing is such a wonderful part of our yoga practice Ė it helps strengthen your diaphragm, lowers stress levels and reduce blood pressure. I usually end my yoga classes by coming back to slow belly breathing. I like combining the belly breathing with a guided meditation, but most of my students tell me they donít hear my words because they are so relaxed Ė other than farting, this is the greatest compliment you can pay a yoga teacher!
If you want to learn this amazing tool for de-stressing, why not try a yoga class and find your inner yogi?
Author: Sally Pearce (sallyjaneyoga)