The Breath of Joy
“One who half breathes, half lives” – Chinese proverb
The Breath of Joy is energizing, uplifting and makes me grin like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. Because children’s hearts are open, they practice it with relish – completely harnessing the joyful, love-filled prana around them.
Mostly we breathe into the upper-most, front part of our lungs, limiting the amount of oxygen we inhale. Similarly, the don’t fully exhale, meaning that stale, old energy doesn’t readily leave our bodies. We walk through life lethargic, tired and even a bit sad. A few rounds of the Breath of Joy will dissipate all that.
Have fun and do this with your kids in the mornings when you wake up. Better than a shot of espresso to get you going 🙂
1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Ground into the front, back, inside and outside of both your feet. Feel you are standing equally on both feet. Slightly bend your knees.
2. Breathe in through the nose, dividing your inhalation into three parts, with corresponding arm movements:
Part 1: breathe into the bottom of your lungs, swing your arms in front of you
Part 2: Continue breathing in – now into the sides of your lungs. Swing arms out wide, open your heart.
Part 3: continue in-breath – now to the top of the lungs, swing your arms upward.
3. Breathe out through the mouth making a “ha” noise. As you do this, bring your arms out in front of you, fold your body forward and bend your knees. You can even bring the arms to wrap around your body and connect with the shoulder-blades.
4. Repeat, using your own natural rhythm. Deep, full breaths in and out.
5. Stand still and quiet when you are finished, palms facing outward, and observe the wonderful effect of this breathing exercise.
- You may feel light-headed. This is normal – take a moment to find your natural breathing rhythm and start again.
- Avoid if you have untreated high-blood pressure, or suffer from glaucoma
- Lower-back pain: remember to bend your knees, and go a little slower
- Not recommended for expectant mothers