i reference judith lasater’s book relax and renew on an almost daily basis. her gentle and precise instruction grounds me and provides a rich reference for both my personal practice and my teaching. i’m sharing with you her guidance on the centering breath practice because i use it. and as my own human guinea pig, i know this breath practice works to ground and center me.
i feel we can all benefit from this simple breathing practice. i like to add in that whenever we are feeling tension building up in the body, a deep inhale through the nose and soft yet purposeful exhale through the mouth is extremely useful. (little lions!)
The first step is to realize that you need to relax.
1. Take a long, slow, gentle inhalation through your nose.
2. Follow the inhalation with a long, slow, gentle exhalation through your nose.
3. Take several normal cycles of breath through your nose when you feel refreshed.
4. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 for up to 10 rounds.
-Never strain or force your breath.
-Remember, each breath is a sign that life is moving through and with you—allow yourself to feel and enjoy each breath.
-The Centering Breath can be used in any position (both on and off your yoga mat.)
if you have relax and renew you can find it on page 24. i’ve just incorporated it into a summary for a gentle and restorative yoga class that rhia robinson and i are co-teaching to participants at a caregiver’s retreat at elm flats ranch on june 7. through the leadership of dear melissa smith, this free retreat is for those who work with and care for people with alzheimer’s!
-Thich Nhat Hanh