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Establishing a Breathing Practice
(For Students who have taken the Body, Breath & Being Workshop)

by Bret Lyon, PhD

I use breathing in the way that I teach it as my primary spiritual, creative and healing practice. I can really feel the difference in my attitude and my accomplishments between when I do my practice regularly and when I don't. When I practice at least twice a week, life is brighter, my mood is better and I get a lot more done.

Even though you are beginners in this method, you will benefit immediately by setting 20 to 30 minutes aside on a regular basis to lie down and breathe.

By lying down and having more time, you can go inside much more deeply than with a breathing break. As this work is deeper, once to three times a week is sufficient. In this process, there is even more emphasis on allowing and flowing with whatever happens.

As in the class, there are only two rules: keep breathing and be comfortable. Lie down on a comfortable surface — not too hard and not cushy soft. Use pillows if needed under your knees and head (make sure the head pillow is very thin, otherwise you close the throat).

Begin with a short relaxation. I find the bones and spaces relaxation that I use to be particularly effective. You can use my tape if you have it. Otherwise, any scanning of your body will help you go inside. You can combine this with silently repeating a favorite saying or mantra. Then let go and breathe. Allow the breath to go in and come out gently, with no effort. It sometimes helps to let out a gentle sigh of relief. Yawning works also.

Notice the breath. Where does it go on the inhale? On the exhale? What do you feel in your body? What sensations and and emotions do you notice. Pay particular attention to places in your body that feel relaxed, open or spacious. Notice comfort, pleasure or joy. Whatever you notice, say "hello" to it with the breath. Allow it all to be there.

Allow your breathing to get deeper and fuller...

You will find the process has a natural flow and comes to a natural end. The process usually takes 15 -30 minutes. If you need to limit the time, use a clock radio with gentle music set low. You can get clock radios that also play tapes or CDs and these would be the best. Please no alarms.

It's very important to allow time to come gently out of the breathing state. Notice the new sensations in your body. Open your eyes slowly and let yourself see in soft focus. The more time you've been in, the more time you will probably need to come out. Roll to the side slowly and come to sitting, using your head as little as possible.

(If you are working with strong emotions, it is a good idea to have a support person to sit with you — or a least someone you can definitely contact on the phone. Though often peace and joyfull, there are times when this work can be highly emotional. Use your judgment about when it's okay for you to do this work without close and competent support).


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