Breathing is something we do all day long, rarely even noticing and usually without giving it any thought. However when we do pay attention, even for just a few moments, watching and exploring our breath, we receive countless benefits including a sense of calm, improved energy and clarity of mind.
This is a great exercise to help bring your attention to the present moment, as such it is helpful to do before any of the other exercises presented here and whenever you want to be more present in your body and or the activity you’re doing.
- Sit or stand in an upright but comfortable and relaxed position.
- Take a few moments to become aware of your posture and how your body feels.
- Bring your awareness and attention to your breathing.
- Watch your breathing for a moment or two, we’re not trying to change your breathing at this point, we’re just watching it. Is it fast or slow, shallow or deep, laboured or easy?
- Start by imaging your upper body (torso) is like a closed umbrella, the top of the umbrella should roughly be where your neck is.
- With your next inhalation imagine that the umbrella is slowly and smoothly opening. Feel it open first from the bottom of your torso then slowly all around its circumference, feel the front, sides and back of your torso slowly expanding.
- When ready slowly close the umbrella and feel the air being expelled from your body.
- Continue breathing in and out and imagine the umbrella opening and closing as your breath.
- Notice how and where your body moves or doesn’t move, how each in and out breath makes you feel.
- Feel your arms, draped gently by your side, let them follow the movement of the umbrella, slightly pushed out to the side and back with each breath.
- Feel your spine rise and fall slightly with each breath.
You can do this exercise for as little or as long as you want, you will get benefit from even a few breaths but 3 to 5 minutes would be brilliant.