Body of Breath Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 1

Constructive Rest

10 min - Practice


We are already breathing beautifully. This simple, breathing awareness exercise is designed to help us observe and connect more deeply with our breath. Zubin, with Juna’s help, demonstrates how we might witness the breath in our belly, side waist, and collarbones to find a deep ease. While you don't need anything, Zubin show how a strap can help the legs relax and an eye pillow can help provide reference for the breath in the belly. Juna uses a blanket under her head for comfort.
What You'll Need: Blanket, Strap


Read Full Transcript

So the breath, the breath in yoga is so much we can say about, it's such a central part of the practice and it's a part I really love to teach and it's a part that's very central to my practice. So Junha and I today are going to show you a few things about the breath but one thing I find in a lot of teaching about the breath it can get really complicated. So today we're going to do something very very simple, something you can do in a few minutes, in five minutes, ten minutes, nothing more than that. So let's start. If you would lie down in constructive rest. So we're going to use a strap today of a constructive rest but if you don't have a strap it's really not necessary. You can have your feet a little wider than the hips distance apart, bring your toes in a little bit and drop the knees together and that's a very stable pose. You can stay with without using a lot of effort in your legs for a good few minutes but today we're going to use the strap. I prefer the strap if you have it because it can allow your legs to be completely neutral. So do you want to put this strap on? So when you put the strap on make sure the buckle is not touching your skin that can cause a little bit of irritation and start by having your palms facing the ceiling and simply noticing the ground underneath you lying, feeling your body relaxing into the ground. So one thing I like to remind myself about the breath and remind people when I'm teaching is just how simple the practice can be. That in fact we're all expert breathers, we're breathing every day so many times and it's something we have already found a beautiful natural balance. So in yoga practice really what we're trying to do is get our mind and all this effort out of the way. We're already breathing beautifully and I think that's a very important part to remember and we're going to look at three simple aspects of the breath on her body today and then go into more detail in a class on each one of these three aspects. So to begin with looking at the belly we can do this in a couple of ways we can place a simple eye pillow on the belly to bring our attention there or you can place your hands there. Do you want to place your hands on your lower belly and begin to notice whatever sensation you feel in your hands noticing the rise and fall of your belly. And as you settle into this as your body starts to relax as you get more sensitivity in your fingers remember the quieter your body gets the quieter your mind gets the more the more you can notice the notice in your hands notice in the belly notice the rise and fall and see if you feel a difference in one hand or the other. Usually a breath can get a little bit asymmetric by the different imbalances in in the way we hold our belly in the way we stand in the way we walk. And again with this simple practice all we're doing is observing our breath we're not trying to make it longer we're not trying to make some sound with our breath we're just bringing all these things out of the way so we can begin to connect more deeply with what is already going on. In doing this at home you can spend more time in each position or you can bring your hands up to your ribcage making sure the palms are a little bit on the side of your body so you can get a sense of the rise and fall of the ribcage but also this widening of the ribs the side ribs becoming wide on the inhalation and the gentle softening back of the ribs on the exhalation. And the placing of your hands on your body can be very comforting just in that act so that again helps the body relax helps you connect more with your breath. How does this feel to you? Really good. Can you feel the side ribs expanding as well as the front? And you can also bring your attention to the back body it's obviously compressed a bit by the fact you're lying down on the ground but you can feel the back ribs expanding as well in the sense of the whole circumference of your torso the diaphragm gently expanding and contracting. When you have a sense of this when you have a feeling of your body and the breath and this the synchronized movement the breath creating the movement in your body can move your hands up to your collarbones simply resting on your upper chest on the rim of the collarbones. And notice any movement in your upper chest sometimes for some of us there's very little movement here in the upper chest but with a little time a little attention you can begin to feel this wonderful rise and lightness on the inhalation. Again we're not trying to force the breath into any part of the body this is a very simple practice of observation. Observation how your body is today going to be different every day there's no there's no need to feel oh I did this yesterday this part was moving this is giving you information about where your body is right now but also this simple act of attention is a great kindness to yourself the simple observation of your body and it's that observation that will begin to bring your body and your breath into balance. So sometimes in our yoga practice we want to do something very physical we feel oh I want to do handstands I want to do backbends and that's great that gives you a great sense of strength a sense of power a sense of awakeness but other times this simple lying down you need very little equipment you don't need much time in a sense this is a great yoga snack you need a little a little relaxation a little calming down this is perfect. Did you feel a change in your body over the past just what is this five six minutes my breath has slowed down slowed down noticeably become more shallow yeah and I can notice more even movement in your torso.

Now bring your hands back to your side palms facing the ceiling make sure you have space between your side body and your arms just moving the arms a little bit further apart makes the collarbones broader gives you a sense of space around your ribs so you can feel that full expansion. Once you've looked specifically at these three parts of your body begin to have this wider view of the whole torso expanding and contracting the sense of the air being drawn into your body and then gently flowing out and you can you can ask yourself as you are in this in this stage of looking at this much wider sense where the sensations are where the sensations aren't so where do you feel the most sensation right now in the breathing my throat in your throat and is that a sense of constriction or or a free open sense a little bit of constriction but moving my arms wider helped open it so by observing your body noticing where the constriction may be again bringing your attention to this spot where June is saying her she feels a bit of constriction in the throat she brings attention there that can help release that constriction so you can you can pause in this position right now continuing experiences longer for yourself or when you're ready to get up it's a very important transition you've done this work to to calm your body so how you come out of it is very important so would you like to gently roll over to that side pausing on your side for a moment maybe taking your arm under your head so your head is supported your neck is supported making sure you pause here reconnect with your breath notice how your breath has changed slightly from this little bit of movement and then when you're ready using your hands pushing yourself up to sit letting your head trail last so a very simple exercise to bring you into your body bring you into your breath and we're going to go into more detail about how you can use some simple arson opposes to explore these areas more deeply


Misty Eve Hannah
love this breath attention so much!!!
Silke S
2 people like this.
Thank you for this guided breathing. I loved to place my hand onto the belly, chest and collarbone, it really brings the awareness into the area. The strap around my thighs felt so good, I could release my legs and hips. I placed a bolster under my thighs, straped them and straighten my legs. That felt wonderful.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Love the simplicity of this approach. My personal experience is that applying too much "technique" to the breath can create a great deal of tension - the opposite of "prana - ayama" - releasing the restrictions on the breath. Thank you!

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