Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Breath can be defined as the air we take in and expel through our lungs.
A powerful tool, the role of breath is understated and the act of breathing itself is often taken for granted by many. It is more than just an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Breath helps us to maintain healthy functions of our body systems, it works as a vehicle to carry our life force, known as Prana or Qi, it signals us what our body is experiencing according to our thoughts and emotions and serve as an 'object' of focus during meditation.
Through awareness and regulation of breath, we learn to manage and improve every aspect of our life, from relationships, career, health, spiritual, to many more.
Mindfulness and Breath
Mindfulness is defined as being aware of the present moment in a non-judgemental way, and breath awareness is the foundation of mindfulness.
When we learn to be aware of our breath, which is fundamentally ourselves, we will naturally become more aware of our reactions towards the inputs of our 5 senses, and be more skillful in managing our relationships with these inputs. Instead of allowing ourselves to react automatically either emotionally or physically to the inputs, we can respond to them mindfully, and handle any situations and ourselves appropriately.
If you noticed, when you are angry, your breath is rapid, shallow, and irregular. Imagine the impact of this on the entire body system and your mental health.
From now on, your breath shall be your most intimate and honest partner.
There are different ways to develop breath awareness. They can be categorized as formal and informal practices. Formal practices are basically what we do on the mat, while informal ones are what we do off the mat.
In this article, I will share with you 3 techniques and you can practice them individually. For example, dedicating one day to just one technique.
1. Natural Breathing Awareness.
i. Take a comfortable seated or lying down position.
ii. Bring your awareness to the entrance of your nostrils.
iii. Take 3 deep breaths and notice the flow of air entering and exiting your nostrils.
iv. After step 3, breathe naturally and continue to observe the air entering and exiting your nostrils.
You may set your timer to 3 minutes gradually building up to 5 and 10minutes. Remember not to control your breathing but simply observe. Stay neutral to what you noticed or experienced. Avoid overanalyzing them.
2. Line Drawing
Here is a video tutorial I've prepared for you.
3. Humming Bee Breath
i. Take a comfortable seated position, spine erect, shoulders and jaw relaxed.
ii. Begin with 3 deep breaths to bring your awareness to your breath flow.
iii. Lightly seal your lips but make sure that your jaw is relaxed.
iv. Inhale through the nose and as you exhale, gently hum, like the sound of a bee, mmmmmmmmmmm…… focus on the sound and stop at the end of the exhalation.
Repeat this step.
You can start with a 1minute duration and gradually build up to 5 minutes. Remember, the hum should not be forceful nor too loud. Avoid doing this technique if you have low blood pressure or are feeling dizzy.
Here are 3 different arm positions you can take to practice Humming Bee.
Position 1 will help you to focus on the sound. Position 2 allows you to feel the vibration better. Take position 3 when humming bee comes naturally to you.
These 3 techniques are beginner-friendly and easy to practice. Be consistent in your practice and also, try to do them when you are feeling overwhelmed by any strong emotions. Notice the changes in yourself, in your reaction, decisions, and actions.
If you travel through the breath, deep into yourself, to the deepest core of the breath, it will take you to that point where you are actually tied to the body. - Sadhguru