MY FAVORITE CUESNew inspiring cue that revolves around the theme of the month each Wednesday. All content taken is taken down at the end of the month when new theme is posted.
THEME: THE BREATH
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All cues are meant to be used when you’re in full expression of the pose unless otherwise noted.
Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and breathe out for a count of 8.
Why? According to Dr. Andrew Weil, this breathing technique is exceptionally beneficial for stress relief as well as helping relieve anxiety. He teaches this technique not only to all of his patients, but also his medical students! He suggests it can likely help with cravings as well! You can watch the 3-minute video and practice along with him in this week’s mini training.
Let your belly, AND low ribs expand three-dimensionally (forward, side and back) as you inhale; as you exhale let everything recoil and consciously narrow your waist towards the end of your exhale.
Note: You still want your breath to be comfortable; don’t force it. Find your balance.
MRIs show that the back part of the diaphragm has the greatest range of motion (moving up and down up to 4 inches as the diaphragm contracts and relaxes). That’s a lot of movement! If we only let the belly expand forward, we miss out on the full movement (and full benefits) of diaphragmatic breathing.
Breathing into the backside of the body and creating lateral expansion has a plethora of benefits. You can read all about it and watch some short videos to help guide you in my Favorite Finds and Mini Trainings. It’s worth the 5 minutes it takes to learn how to use the full potential of your diaphragm!
You want to be sure to exhale fully and completely when practicing full belly breaths. Clinical psychologist Dr. Belisa Vranich, who has spent over ten years studying the breath, says to “Remember that stale air stays in your lungs unless you consciously exhale it. Just keep training yourself to blow out every last little bit.”
If you want to read more about this concept, I found a blog post for you all from yogi and surgeon Dr. Ray Long, that explains the anatomy of belly breathing, and has a short animated video as well. It’s my Favorite Find this week, and it’s brief and to the point..always what I try to find for you all!
Feel the coolness of your breath enter through your nose; feel the warmth of your breath exit through your nose. For me, this brings me right into the moment.
Why? We breathe through our nostrils to help warm and moisten the air. (Yes, I know I said: “feel the coolness” as it enters because that’s how it feels, even though it’s warming the air as it makes its way to our lungs.)
Another benefit of breathing through our nose according to Dr. Reid Winick, “Our body has a gene – T2R38, that stimulates nose’s receptors when you breathe through your nose which reacts with the chemicals that bacteria in the air use to communicate. It stimulates nitric oxide that kills the bacteria, so you breathe in a relatively less infectious air. (Scientific American Sept 2014 Page 28)”.
In layman’s terms, breathing in through your nose helps to clean the air.
Coming the 4th Wednesday in April!
***The cues I find and post are by well respected body experts and Doctors who teach yoga and other body nerds like myself.