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A Free Mindfulness Practice For The Primal Soul Squad

How to Practice Intentional Breathing


Today I wanted to share with you all a mindfulness practice that I use and for introducing more mindfulness, calm, and clarity into your headspace! My hope is that you will practice this technique often, and find great personal peace from it! Enjoy xxx


1) Sit comfortably and observe your natural breath.

Start by finding a comfortable position like sitting upright in a chair or lying on your back. Begin to observe your breath just as it is. Notice where the breath flows – upper chest, lower belly, front, back, or sides. As you do, try to avoid placing a judgment on how you are breathing or attaching a story to it. Just observe how you are breathing… just as you are. You might notice that observing your breath slows down your respiration rate.


2) Place your hands on your chest and belly.

Place your right hand on your breastbone in the center of your chest. Place your left hand so that your thumb is below your navel. Continue to breathe normally and observe whether you are breathing more into your right hand or left hand. See if you can resist the urge to change your breath or make it deeper. Breathe as normally as you can and observe how it is to be in your body, breathing normally. How does it feel? What do you notice? Continue for at least 10 breaths.


3) Breathe into your chest.

Try breathing just into your right hand that is resting in the middle of your upper chest. Without forcing the breath, see how it feels to breathe into the space below your right hand. What do you notice? Can you slow your inhalation or is that difficult or uncomfortable? Just see what happens. Keep observing for 10–20 breaths. After 10–20 breaths, take a few deep inhalations and exhalations and resume breathing normally for a minute or so.


Begin to observe your breath just as it is. Notice where the breath flows – upper chest, lower belly, front, back, or sides. As you do, try to avoid placing a judgment on how you are breathing or attaching a story to it.


4) Breathe into your lower lungs.

Next, try breathing just into your left hand that is resting on your abdomen. Without forcing the breath, see how it feels to breathe into the space below your left hand. What do you notice? Can you slow your inhalation or is that difficult or uncomfortable? Just see what happens. Keep observing for 10–20 breaths. After 10–20 breaths, take a few deep inhalations and exhalations and resume breathing normally for a minute or so.


5) Take half breaths into your chest and then your lower lungs.

Now, try breathing half of your inhalation into your right hand, pause for a second or two, and then breathe the remainder into the space below your left hand and pause. Then exhale from the bottom up, first releasing the air below your left hand, then allowing the exhalation to continue from below your left hand to below your right hand, traveling up and out either through your nose or mouth. Continue to your next inhalation, first into the area beneath your right hand, and then into the area beneath your left hand, then exhale from the bottom up. Can you slow your inhalation or is that difficult or uncomfortable? How does it feel? What do you notice? Keep observing for 10–20 breaths. After 10–20 breaths, take a few deep inhalations and exhalations and resume breathing normally for a minute or so.


6) Take full breaths.

Finally, try breathing deeply and fully from top to bottom as you inhale and bottom to top as you exhale, without pausing. If possible, see if you can slow the exhalation so that it is longer than the inhalation. If you like, you can count 1, 2, 3, and so on to see which is longer: your inhalation or your exhalation. After 10–20 breaths, take a few big deep inhalations and exhalations and resume breathing normally for a minute or so.


7) Notice how you feel.

Was the exercise simple or difficult? Did breathing slowly and fully seem usual to you? How do you feel physically? Emotionally? Energetically? If you like, write down your experience.


How Mindful Intentional Breathing Helps With Stress

This exercise is intended to activate your parasympathetic nervous system which triggers the relaxation response, lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, and allows your body to start repairing and restoring type functions. While not everyone experiences relaxation right away, most will feel a sense of calm and a reduction in the feeling of stress after this exercise.


Some people find it difficult to remain focused on their breath because their brain is in a constant state of busy chatter. A simple way to start is to attach your breath to a word or a phrase to keep your mind focused. For example… slowly recite the words “in” with the inhalation, and “out” with the exhalation. Pretty much any word or phrase can work to help focus the mind on the sensation of the breath. The trick is to keep the word or phrase simply so that the experience is still centered on what you are feeling… your body's sense of breathing rather than the thought sense, or a word or story that describes it.

No matter what works for you, intentional breathing takes practice. The good news is that it can be practiced virtually anywhere. The more that you practice, the easier it gets. In the beginning, you should practice intentional breathing a few times a day, every day, preferably in a quiet space and with no distractions. You can do it whenever you find yourself sitting still for a few moments. It is much easier to learn a new skill while focusing on it, rather than trying to figure it out while multitasking.


Most of my students have felt benefits from this practice right away. They feel calmer, and relaxed after a few minutes of intentional breathing. Over time, you might notice a better awareness of your breath, or a tendency to breathe more deeply and fully more of the time. This is a good first step in more mindful awareness.


If you'd like more mindfulness material like this, straight to your inbox every week, you can sign up for my Mindfulness Monday email blast! These go out every Monday at 8 AM and are packed with mindful, meditative, goodness, and are designed to help you flow into your week with grace and peace! You can sign up here --> https://www.primalsoul.ca/recieve-newsletters


Peace & hugs

Bobbie xxx





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