Today is the first day of May (Happy Beltane!) and I am returning to energies that first emerged at the beginning of March (around the Spring Equinox). May is all about breath-work. It’s your Spring as much as it is The Mother’s. You’re budding, expanding in the warmth of the sun as the cold winter fades. Your body craves oxygen, deep nourishment. It's a time to tune in & tune out. Many have entered into a time of pilgrimage: we are coming home to ourselves. Now is a time to be devoted to your breathing, to your wholeness.
For most of my life, one of the more detrimental coping mechanisms I adapted was holding my breath (while also clenching my jaw). The impact this has had on my body have been profound. When we hold our breath, we are actually mentally & emotionally preparing for incoming pain. Think of what you do just before getting a shot! Though the nurse instructs you to breathe, instinctively, we hold our breath. This is a physical representation of a mental wall we are creating to protect ourselves. Each time you hold your breath, you're adding another layer of mental bricks to the wall. Eventually, your closed in and there's no windows. The oxygen thinning, eventually running out. It creates a fear that stagnates your growth and actually, makes the pain worse.
Instead of holding the fear and the tension in, we release all of that with an out-breath and inhale life-sustaining energy in its place. This is also referred to as Prāna. The Prāna (our life-force/energy center) is connected to breath & is responsible for many of our “moods” & overall energy levels. When we hold our breath, we are blocking the flow of Prāna throughout our energetic body, creating blockages that are detrimental to both our spiritual and physical health.
For the month of May, I encourage you to truly make the time to focus on your breathing. As we continue to be called Home, to truly embrace the physicality of our bodies and this life experience, the pilgrimage begins with deep heart breathing. Utilizing breathing techniques pulls you out of your conscious mind and assists you in entering into meditative states that connect you to your Higher Self. When we connect to our Higher Selves, we learn OUR VOICE. Learning your voice is the path to wholeness: to the balancing of your inner masculine and inner feminine energies. This is crucial in creating free-flowing Prāna while fulling stepping into our power and life purpose. See how it's all beautifully and perfectly connected?
I've collected a short list of meditations, books and articles that you may find helpful and/or interesting:
HRV Resonant Breathing Excercise by Trent Janisch: slow and steady breaths
Counting Breaths Excercise by Karen Neverland This woman is incredible. After doing this meditation, poke around her sight (typo, but with meaning-- i meant site, but to see her vision is also incredible!), discover her books, devour her Twitter feed.
2 Qigong Breathing Techniques by ThinkVitality- Jeff's entire YouTube channel is AMAZING.
The Art of Living: Pranayama: The Beginner's Guide to Yoga Breathing Exercises (really great introduction. I love a lot of the Art of Living articles. Full of great information.
Tao Tantric Arts for Women by Minke de Vos : You can't go wrong with ANY books on Tantra! Despite contrary belief that Tantra is "sex magic" (I mean, once practiced, the sex you do have does become WOW MAGICAL but that's besides the point): it is actually heavily focused on breathing and being present. This particular book by de Vos includes some incredible exercises. I've put this book in the hand of countless women in my life. Since stumbling upon it in Fall 2016, it's been a continued resource for me.
Five Minute Dragon Breath from Kundalini Live You can feel the energy flowing, a natural high upon completion
From Harvard Medical School: Relaxation Techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. "Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure."
I hope this small list helps! Research is your friend as you find what's best for you. Enjoy this beautiful Spring. I'm sending you so much love!