I remember when I used to take a yoga class right after working a day at the office. My balance was about as steady as Humpty Dumpty was on the wall. But weekend classes? No problem. I was as solid as a deeply rooted tree. My practice on weekdays was very different from my practice on weekends. It was like I was a different person completely. On weekdays I was moving into balance poses (and all poses for that matter) with tension. On weekends I was calmer, breathing deeper and moving with a sense of ease.
One of my favourite things about yoga is what happens on the mat is a mirror for what happens off the mat. My weekday yoga practices were tense, but so were my regular week day activities. During the week I carried tension around like it was a designer handbag. If I could soften and breathe deeper before moving into a pose, my balance was much better. I knew this would work off the mat too.
I was given a simple breath technique while working with a healer in Bali to use whenever I needed to move towards a more balanced existence. I was told that my chakras were out of balance, which I knew very clearly. I could feel it. Using this breath technique, I was able to make a shift for the better and bring back the balance in my energetic system as well as move towards health in my physical body.
Here’s how it works:
- Lay down and get comfortable (not a bad first step!)
- Begin to deepen your breath and drop into the experience of breathing. Don’t rush, really, this part is important.
- With an inhale, picture your breath moving in a straight line all the way down to the central base of your pelvis. Continue this with each inhale and notice if and where your straight line may waiver.
- Picture your exhales moving up from the base of your pelvis to the top of your head. Notice if and where your straight line may waiver.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat until your line moves straight or begins to get straighter. You can do this as often as you wish throughout the day.
The first time I did this exercise I couldn’t even get my ‘breath line’ to go all the way down. It would waiver to the right at my throat and to the left at my heart. It would stop moving down around my belly button – sometimes higher. But the more I did it, the better it became.
If your line waivers, this could very likely be where there’s an imbalance in your energetic system. Your chakras exist along this centre line in your energetic body. In Sanskrit it’s called your Sushumna. Breathing into your centre helps to bring you back to your centre.
Take a moment to breathe before your day, before your meeting, or before any scenario for that matter and you’ll be set you up for success.
You can literally breathe yourself into balance.
Donna Wilding is a teacher and student of yoga for 10+ years, and a student of life for 32. She’s happy to say she survives in the city of Toronto by sharing her passion for Yoga and Reiki. You can find her on Twitter.