Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Gift of a New Year

The change to a New Year is auspicious. 
Now we have another: 
12 months or
53 weeks (it is a leap year after all!) or
366 days or
8784 hours or
527,040 minutes or
31,622,400 seconds!
So much time to do so much good 
for the highest and best of all concerned.
Place yourself at the top of your list. 
Your world starts with you…you matter…one second at a time.
It’s just that simple!
Happy 2020 - the Year of Clear Vision!

Friday, December 27, 2019

What is Gentle Breath?

Gentle Breath is the easy, normal breath of the body.…with awareness.  Normal breathing happens without our control, the non-emotional breath  -   the undercurrent which sustains our day-to-day living. Yet it often gets the least of our attention. 

Monkey mind, swirling moods, and tense, painful muscles/joints draw our attention quite easily. All of these thoughts, emotions and sensations affect how we breathe, resulting in what I describe as the fabric of breathing: silky smooth, corduroy bumpy, and burlap rough. Silk is the natural easy breath. Corduroy is sighing breath, as in sorrow. Burlap is the jarred breath, as in anger.

When I work with the Gentle Breath, I am referring to the silky smooth breathing that is our natural breath rhythm with awareness. This means we are paying attention to our breathing.

Here’s a practice: take a deep breath now, while you are reading this…inhale AND exhale. This is a breath “round.” (As noted in the first Blog.) Return to the Gentle Breath and relax your jaw. Note: This is a nostril breathing practice. If you have any nasal deviations or stuffiness, certainly mouth breathing is necessary.

Now, take another round of a deep, controlled breath, and be aware that there are four parts: inhalation, space, exhalation, space. (The space refers to the point where there is no inhale and no exhale.) Then be aware of your Gentle Breath, relaxing your jaw muscles.

One last time: take three rounds of deep, controlled breaths in a row…no counting needed, no particular pattern, and no forceful or quickened actions…just long inhalation and long exhalation with attention to the space between those actions. AND being aware of what is happening with your body, with you. Then return to the Gentle Breath flow, again being aware of what is happening with you, and once again, relaxing your jaw. 

Can you feel (body sensations) the differences between the normal breath and the controlled breath? What have you felt, discerned? Whatever you experienced is just that, an experience. No correct/incorrect is necessary. 

This is the simplest method of being in the present moment. Add awareness to your breathing. And it does not take long to align and awaken this gentle process.

This begs the question of… “ So what?” 

Our breath changes immediately and automatically with every thought, emotion and activity we have. This implies compromised breathing…the different fabrics of breath. My premise is that we start easy with being quiet for a few moments every day with the above practice of aware breathing. 

Once this feels familiar, add being attentive to breath patterns throughout the day, in every situation whether pleasant and unpleasant. Are they silk, corduroy or burlap? If not silky, then change by taking the deep breath round and moving into the Gentle Breath. 

When we notice what happens within ourselves through the breath, the more control we will experience. We can more easily move out of pain, strain, and tension, into more ease, focus and choice. Changing our breathing is the start.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Tip For the Calming Yourself During the Holidays!

Many of you know that breathing is one of my main tools for Claiming Your Calm! 
Lots and lots is written about breathing and has been for thousands of years in all cultures.  The many benefits are too numerous to list here, so concisely, breathing awareness creates different and easier brain/emotional functioning. Many teachers and techniques are now online to offer their knowledge and insights. 

Here’s mine: Just Breathe…with Awareness. 

This means, notice your breath, and that there is an inhalation and an exhalation, and space between them. This is the first step. And note…this breathing awareness practice of just noticing the four parts of your normal, innate breathing pattern is through your nostrils, on both the inhale and the exhale. Each cycle of inhalation, space, exhalation and space is a “round.” 

Next, to become more focused, attentive, even meditative, notice the differences/similarities among the four parts within a round, including length, rate, rhythm, depth, pattern and effort. Take one of these qualities at a time, being curious about each. Then gradually feel them together. 

This quiets the mind as it keeps the mind out of control mode and into observing mode. Or put another way: body-led awareness.

Then to make this a deeper practice, breath control is the next step. Start with lengthening the inhalation only, with a normal exhalation, for 2-3 breath rounds. Return to normal breathing, a gentle breath.Then take a normal inhalation and add a longer exhalation for 2-3 breath rounds. Again return to normal breathing, a gentle breath. Play with different lengths, again noticing the five other aspects listed above. Nothing rapid or aggressive or long.

The key ingredients of developing awareness are playfulness, curiosity and less effortful! 

If you are interested in experiencing more thorough guidance, give me a call or email me. Or buy the Gentle Breath CD either on the website or on Amazon.

Namasté - Kandy