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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?

~ Click here and I’ll talk you through the wave ~
~ Go at your own pace ~

Windsurfing photo from Pixabay

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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.

Watch the primary breathing coordination in action.

The next time someone suggests you take a deeeeep breath, instead of hauling air in… release your breath gently.

Then sense out into the surrounding space and let go through your neck, your ribs, your belly…

And allow air to arrive through your whole widening back, filling your sail.

As your air flows out again on an exhale, consider which way it flows…..
UPWARD, toward the point of your party hat! 

                                       Ethan demonstrates upward flow

Observe your interior landscape, below.

Can you imagine air flowing up out of your lungs, all the way up to the top of your nasopharynx and forward over the rim of your cheekbones as it exits through your nose?

What do you notice?

~ Spend that air freely ~

Blowing bubbles photo by dagon_ on Pixabay
Ethan at Mina’s party, photo by his dad

Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing

The pharynx

*The deliberate slight constriction of the back of the throat used in the yogic practice of ujjayi breathing creates a different sound than the sniffing noise of narrowed nasal passages.
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