Today’s practice is belly breathing. In this breathing exercise, we will learn to follow or breath as it goes in and out of our body.
We will begin our practice by finding a comfortable seat in our chair or on the floor. Check to see that your feet are rooting into the ground if in a chair, or that you feel like your seat is rooting down if you’re on the floor. Start with your hands face down on your legs, letting the arms relax. Close the eyes if this feels safe, and reach the top of your head toward the sky to make your back long and tall. On your next breath in, roll your shoulders up to your ears and breathe out as they roll down your back.
When you’re ready, bring one hand onto your belly and the other hand onto your chest. It doesn’t matter which hand goes to either place, whichever one you prefer is the right way for you.
Once your hands are on your belly and chest, begin notice your breath. See if you can feel your belly pressing into your hand when you take a breath in, and feel your belly move away from your hand as you breathe out. On the out breath, see if you can follow your out breath out of your belly and up through your chest.
Now we will begin to take deeper breaths in and out, taking more time to follow the path of our breath. As you slowly breathe in, follow your breath all the way down, through your nose, throat and chest, and into your belly. Feel your belly expand really big into your hand. Imagine your belly growing as big as your arms did when we practiced balloon breathing. At the end of this big breath in, feel your belly and hand pull back in toward your body. Notice your breath traveling up your belly, up through your chest and throat, and leaving through your nose.
Continue this breathing on your own now: filling up your belly on the in breath, emptying your belly on the out breath. The path of our breath starts in the nose, and goes down to the belly as we breathe in- and up through the belly, out of the nose as we breathe out. See if you can keep following your breath as it moves along this path through your body. It is okay if you get distracted. Just notice when you do, and see if you can find your breath again.
Teachers: Let students continue this breath on their own for 30 more seconds
At the end of your next out breath, follow the air all the way out through your nose. You can begin to breathe normally again, and slowly, slowly bring your hands back to your legs- keeping the eyes closed for just a little longer.
On your next in breath, roll your shoulders up to your ears. On your out breath, let them roll down your back like a waterfall. When you are ready, you can gently open your eyes, coming back into the room.
Students: Practice this breathing whenever you would like to feel calm and in charge of your feelings- or whenever you want to take a time out from a situation.
Teachers: This is a wonderful, calming practice for students. It brings them into their breath and back into the present moment.