Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Locomotive Breath

Take a breath.

Catch your breath.
Shallow breath, heavy breathing, holding our breath, laboured breathing...breath is a constant in our vocabulary.  And no wonder: without breath, we are . . . ?

Breathing is automatic.  It happens whether we will it or not, from the time we are born until the time we leave the planet.  Unless we are having problems with the breath, we seldom notice the constant flux of fresh air in, used air out, of the lungs, out of the body.  Breath moves us, more or less smoothly, along the track of life.

Some yogic traditions hold that each person is allotted a certain number of breaths over a lifetime.  Once that number is used, off you go.  So it might be wise to pay more attention to this vital process and help maximize its benefits.

Yoga and meditation classes focus awareness on the breath, teaching participants how to control the breath, how to move it through different parts of the body, how to use breath to bring energy to the body and how to breathe for relaxation.  With practise, breath awareness becomes a natural part of the day, useful in many situations.

Do you tend to hold your breath when working with a difficult fibre, or when you've discovered an error in your knitting or in your pattern?  Do you remember that massive sigh that escaped your body when it became clear that something just wasn't working as it should?   How about that big, refreshing breath you took when the last skein of yarn was spun, the sweater completed, the knitting finished for the day?

Instead of allowing the breath to happen, we can use these moments to bring awareness to our breathing.  The next time you face a fibre challenge, notice if you are holding your breath or if your breathing becomes shallow.  Consciously relax the body and deepen the breath, drawing it into the body, filling the lungs and moving it down into the abdomen.  Release that breath just as completely, giving a little "push" to empty the lungs. Taking a few of these full breaths will bring new energy (and a new perspective, perhaps), refreshing your brain to meet that challenge.

Fully releasing the breath will help us relax.  This is the nature of the "sigh."  (Women are more likely to sigh than men, for some reason.  Women sighing seems to make many men quite nervous.)  That sigh releases stale air and toxins from the body.  It is a natural mechanism for calm and relaxation.  Take advantage of that and allow yourself a great big sigh the next time you face a major frogging.  Then fill your lungs with a full intake of fresh air and get on with the task.

Yes, I sighed over this one!

Keep breathing.

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