This simple breath practice is great any time you need to balance your thoughts, energy, or emotions. Kate, the yoga teacher/sleuth in A Killer Retreat calls this practice Lithium Breathing, because like the medication for bipolar disorder, it balances energy whether it is manic or depressed.
This practice is perfect for any time of day, and the beauty about breath work is that you can do it anywhere—at home, on the bus, even in the middle of a meeting at work—and no one will think you've gone crazy. ;-)
- Come to a comfortable sitting or lying position.
- Notice how you feel before beginning to practice. Don’t worry if you don’t feel as you think you “should.” Just notice whatever comes to mind and be grateful for the awareness.
- Gradually, over 6 breaths, lengthen both your inhale and exhale, noticing the natural pause at the end of each.
- Maintain the breath in step 3 for at least 6 breath cycles. Then, break the inhale portion of your breath into two equal parts, with a natural pause both between parts and at the end of the inhale.
- Maintain the breath in step 4 for at least 6 breath cycles. Then, break both the inhale and exhale portions of your breath into two equal parts, with the same natural pauses in the middle and at the end.
- Maintain the breath in step 5 for at least 12 breath cycles. Do not strain the breath. If you start to feel strain, decrease the lengths of the breath segments, and then continue with that new length for the rest of the practice.
- Once you finish 12 or more complete breaths at step 6, release the pauses completely and breathe for several breaths. Then gradually allow the breath to come back to a normal rhythm.
- Notice any changes you feel after this practice, without trying to judge them as “good” or bad.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at book sellers everywhere!