Alexander Technique teacher in Lincoln Nebraska and Toronto Canada, creator of Alexander Technique websites, writer, husband and dog lover. Comprehensive independent guide to all Alexander Technique resources worldwide: find a teacher, self-study, medical endorsements, videos, books, interactive resources and much more.
Extending your exhale is one of the best ways I know to calm a buzzy brain and get peaceful energy flowing through a jangly or stuck-feeling nervous system. This is my favorite exhale journey right now, described below and narrated here. You may want to check out the previous blog, ‘Hey, big spender‘ and learn more about your breathing coordination before proceeding…
Imagine a wave – your exhale – rolling gently to the shore, gliding along the sand, traveling a bit further than you’d expect… Finishing, bubbling along its edge, receding just a bit, then beginning to gather:
Now the wave – your inhale – gathers back into the ocean, widening out to each horizon, building in volume; Cresting, spilling over, gliding back to shore, your next exhale. Follow it out… along the sand.
Let ease determine how far the wave glides… the space of the pause… the volume of the gathering… the transition from cresting into spilling over. Each phase unique.
Let each breath invite more movement through all of you, allowing more release with each one. Neck, ribs, belly, pelvic floor, limbs…
Ride the waves for a while and witness… where are you now?
I must confess, I tend to be a bit willfully disobedient during yoga classes when I’m instructed to take a deep breath, or to inhale on command. I love yoga and thoroughly enjoy the flow of movement through postures, but when told to inhale I’m much more likely to release my breath and then allow it to return. My colleague Jessica Wolf likens taking a breath while there is still plenty of residual air in the lungs to wiping a counter with a water-logged sponge. And if you hear a big sniffing sound, there may be narrowing going on in the nasal passages*.
Releasing the breath in a well-coordinated way invites a full, free and elastic inhale.