Start where you are with what you have; Now.
Before you release into this key practice, let’s have a word about yoga props. In this video, Sista Sarsha is all fluffed up with blankets and bolsters. Yes, there’s a really specific reason for this, and yes it’s important…..However, what is more important is that you start with what you have, right now. So make yourself comfortable lying flat on your bed, or on a cosy rug on the floor, and follow the teaching from our Sista Kali. If you want more instruction on lying down, check this out.
Preparation for Deep Breathing – Sukha Pranayama
This basic breathing practice prepares the lungs for the more advanced practice of pranayama. Lengthening the exhalation is soothing and helpful for those that suffer from high blood pressure, nervous tension, headaches and hot flushes during menopause.
For this practice of Preparation for Deep Breathing, you will need a bolster and 1-2 folded blankets. Have your bolster in the centre of your mat. Have one blanket folded and placed at the top end of your bolster to support your head. Have the other blanket nearby, ready to place over you if you get cold.
Sit in dandasana, just in front of your support, with your gaze soft and steady.
Bend your knees one by one, placing your feet flat on to the mat. Bring your hands on to your knees, and slowly roll down through your spine, to come to lie on your bolster. Your buttocks will be resting on the floor, and your head will be supported by the blanket. Bring your arms out to your sides, with your palms facing upwards. Extend your legs straight, and allow your feet to roll outwards, so that your small toe falls to the floor with your big toe following.
Now close your eyes by bringing your upper eyelids down, taking your eyes deeper inside. Spread your right eyebrow to your right and your left eyebrow to your left. Spread your cheek skin by moving your right check skin to your right ear and your left check skin to your left ear, this will allow your nostrils to become free. Rest your tongue on your lower palate and allow the inner walls of your throat to become free form tension.
Take the thumb side of your wrists to the floor to turn your upper arms outward.
Observe your natural flow of breath.
As you inhale make sure you are filling both lungs evenly. Feel your chest expanding circumferentially as you do this.
On your exhalation; breathe out smoothly and quietly, emptying both lungs evenly. If one lung is emptying faster than the other, bring them into balance.
This is one round. We will repeat nine more times.
Inhale, fill your lungs evenly
Exhale, empty your lungs evenly.
Inhale, synchronise the even filling of the lungs, with the circumferential expansion of the ribcage.
Exhale until the lungs are completely empty.
As you inhale, see that your head is staying completely still and that your eyes remain soft.
When your lungs are completely empty, the abdominal organs will relax.
Continue on, working with your own breath.
Have the inhalations and the exhalations of even length.
Never force the breath.
Keep the jaw relaxed, and the face free from tension.
Allow the texture of your breath to be smooth.
Inhale; feeling the oxygen nourishing the cells of your body.
Exhale, let go of the carbon dioxide and toxins in your body.
Rest here, allowing yourself to relax in savasana.
Notice how your mind is after this short practise of conscious breathing.
Next we will focus on and learn the art of exhalation.
Begin by exhaling whatever breath you have left in your lungs. Take a normal inhalation without effort.
Keep your diaphragm lifted as you exhale; smoothly, deeply and completely.
Again take a normal inhalation.
Lift your diaphragm as you exhale, and keep lifting your diaphragm to help guide your lungs to emptiness.
Inhale, filling your lungs evenly.
Exhale completely; making sure that the length of your exhalation is two to three times longer than your inhalation.
Continue on at your own pace.
Allow the inhalation to come to you. Allow your exhalation to be long, smooth and even, allowing your lungs to empty from top to bottom.
Exhale; let go of the carbon dioxide and any toxins in your body.
Exhale out any unwanted emotions, and at the bottom of the exhalation, connect to the peace and stillness.
Now stay connected to this deep sense of peace and stillness throughout the last three rounds.
Rest here, relaxing in savasana.
Next we will focus on, and learn the art of inhalation.
Begin by exhaling whatever breath you have left in your lungs.
Inhale slowly, steadily and deeply.
Allow the natural pause to happen.
Exhale normally without effort.
On the inhalation, fill your lungs from bottom to top, with your inhalation being 2-3 times longer than your exhalation.
Inhale and gradually broaden the ribcage, from the floating ribs to the collar bones.
Allow the nasal passages to stay soft and open on your inhalation……. as well as your exhalation.
On the inhalation, see that the back of your diaphragm is expanding as much as the front of your diaphragm.
Continue on at your own pace.
Focusing on lengthening the inhalation is very helpful for those suffering from low blood pressure, depression, low energy levels and general tiredness.
Allow your awareness to rest deeply and completely on your entire inhalation…and your entire exhalation.
There is only this breath, in this moment in time.
Let go of your practice now, and rest here in savasana.