Last week, we talked about Katy Bowman's definition of "casts" seen in your body. In other words, barriers and walls that limit our body's full range of motion.
This same idea of "casts" can be seen within the internal workings of our body. We rarely think about breathing, it is something that just happens. I mean, look at ya! You're sitting here reading this, your body is breathing itself! Success!
With that being said, our heart and lungs still benefit from being put through ranges and variations of motion, in the same way that your body parts do. There is an ancient practice in yoga that you may have heard of called "Pranayama". I like to look at this practice as bringing attention, instead of "control" to your breathing. Pranayama typically involves an array of different breathing exercises that are intended to bring variety to your typical breathing, which could include bringing length to somewhat shallow breaths!
One of my favorite breathing exercises is Triangle Breathing, a 3 part breathing technique. Bring the image of a triangle to your mind. Inhale up one side of the triangle for 3 seconds. Hold your breath for 3 seconds as you trace down the other side of the triangle. Exhale for 3 seconds as you make your way back to the starting point of the triangle. Start with 3 counts for the breaths/holds, but maybe you expand adding a second to the breaths as you progress! I love doing this before bed and placing my hands around my stomach/ribs, feeling the rise and fall of my breath.
Try this exercise today or maybe read up on Pranayama and find some different techniques! Do what works for your body and always come back to your normal breath if it feels like too much. Either way, take the time to listen to your breath and allow it to remind you of your beautiful aliveness!