Morning Breath Practice
“Breathing mindfully, you simply enjoy your in-breath and out-breath. You bring the mind home to the body, and you realize that you are alive, still alive, and this is a wonder. To be alive is the greatest of all miracles.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
If you can take three minutes before you rise from your night’s sleep to experience and enjoy a morning breath practice, it will help to set the day. Maybe sitting on the edge of the bed before all else. Or once you rise as you sit with your coffee or tea. Just make it the first thing before all of the demands fall upon you—before your morning begins. However you can, take the three minutes. Here is what I suggest.
Close your eyes. Focus on your body rising and falling with your natural breath. Let go of the sounds around you. Begin to deepen your breath—breathing in slower into the belly, middle chest and upper chest. Feel the belly pressing forward and expanding. Feel the side body expand. Feel your collarbones lift. Pause at the top of the breath. Start to exhale pulling belly back towards the spine and let all the air out. Repeat this cycle a few times. If your mind starts to go to what you have to do or whatever, focus on one word as you do this breath practice. Maybe the word “peace.” Or maybe saying “I breathe in peace. I breathe out calm.” Maybe five full cycles or however many you feel.
Come back to your normal everyday breath. Once again, focus on the body rising and falling with the natural miracle of the breath. Now move the spine in seven directions—it will take one minute. Inhale, raise the arms around and up or straight out and up, extending the back body up. Exhale, release them to the sides. Inhale, reaching the arms up, exhale, drop your right hand to the bed next to your hip or the sofa next to you and arch over to the right, drawing the left shoulder back and lifting the heart. Inhale the arms up, exhale, drop the left hand next to your left hip, exhale, arch over to the left. Inhale the arms up, exhale, twist gently to the right dropping your arms down. Inhale arms up, exhale, twist gently to the left dropping your arms down. Inhale the arms up, exhale, bring arms behind you and rest your fingertips down. Lift the heart and gently arch the spine looking where the wall and ceiling meet. Inhale and exhale here. Inhale, reach arms up, exhale, arms front and down and fold forward over your thighs. Let it go and take two full deep long breaths.
Now you are ready to start the day. Enjoy it.
May you be happy. May you be free. May you be grateful. May you be compassionate. May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace.
By Paulette Mancuga