This New Year Season at Lotus Leaf we’re going to be spending a little time exploring a series of breathing enquiries, taught by the renowned yoga teacher Donna Farhi. For this weeks practice, we’ll start with the ‘body glance’.
Checking in with the breath
To be able to compare and appreciate the changes that take place during and after your yoga enquiries, it’s important to take a few moments beforehand to notice the initial quality of your breathing. Breathing 'check ins' are interesting as a way of gauging your physical and psychological state - not only before and after your yoga enquiries but throughout the day .
Often when we first start to observe the breath, we immediately change it. To counter this tendency, keep your check ins quite brief at first - a quick glance at the body. So there’s no need not collect a long list of details about how you’re breathing, for now. A general impression will be fine.
To practice a quick check-in, whatever you're doing, wherever you are, take a few moments to sense your breathing by asking yourself two simple questions...
Where do I feel my breathing?
Can you feel where the movement of the breath originates? Do you feel particular areas of your body where the breath is more noticable? Around your abdomen, chest or nostrils perhaps. Throughout the ribcage? Do you notice your breathing around your shoulders, or your breast bone?
It doesn’t matter if at first you seem to feel nothing. When you return to this question at the end of an enquiry you may find your breathing feels deeper, fuller or easier.
Allow whatever perceptions you have come through without editing or analyzing them. Don’t discount small movements or seemingly insignificant perceptions. It’s all significant.
What does my breathing feel like?
What is the quality of your breathing? Is it rough, laboured, jerky, rhythmic? Does it feel smooth or mechanical? Take note of whatever word or images arise. You may want to keep a notebook with your yoga mat and record your observations for future reference.
Throughout your yoga practice and your day, take time for a quick check in before and after you move. Keep returning to these two simple questions… Where do I feel my breathing? What does my breathing feel like? Just noticing, without judging or trying to change your breathing at all for now.