We are into the new year… filled with promise and possibilities… Many people start the year with the intention to get more exercise. A simple start in this direction is to take a daily walk. Maybe you already have that habit. In that case, I invite you to make it a ‘Breathwalk’.
Maybe you have decided to take your life in a new direction, to change your pace—to speed up or to slow down.Maybe you have reached a comfortable plateau and this year is about settling in or settling down. I invite you to use conscious energy breathingto express, reflect and fuel your intentions.
I invite you to make this year the year that you get into the habit of ‘Breathwalking’. That is the practice of consciously breathing in rhythm to your footsteps. It’s a great way to calm and quiet,relax and energize body, mind, and soul.
The principle of combining movement and breath is an ancient path to better health, higher performance, spiritual development. Breathing mindfully while you walk is a perfect way to apply this ancient principle. And of course, this practice can be applied to running or jogging.
Start with a 3-3 pattern: inhale for three steps and exhale for three steps. Inhale three, exhale three.Once you get into the habit of breathing consciously in rhythm to your footsteps, you can begin stretch and adjust the basic 3-3 pattern in the direction of comfort and ease. Perhaps shifting to a 2-4 or a 3-6 pattern: in other words, make the exhale twice as long as the inhale.
You can try stretching the inhales and exhales out. For example, practice a5-5,6-6, or 8-8 pattern. Or, perhaps you feel like adjusting to adjust the pattern so that the inhales are longer than the exhales. Perhaps a 4-3 or a 4-2 pattern.
Experiment. Be creative. If you climb stairs at home, at school or at work, get in the habit of playing with your breath as you go up and down any staircases.
Breathwalking is a great way to clear your head and get in touch with your body. Mindful breathing increases the natural pleasure that comes with movement. Many people combine Breathwalking with affirmations, mantras, prayers, or power statements.
Breathing in and out through the nose during your breathwalk is a good idea, and it’s a good idea to breathe in the nose and out the mouth. This is a particularly effective practice.
It’s also a good idea to use your breathwalk to practice diaphragmatic breathing. And you may even practice the ‘full yogic breath’ when walking in rhythm to your footsteps. In the beginning, use comfort and pleasure as your gage. And if you like, you turn your breathwalk into a fitness challenge.
Make it a goal to get moving and to get into breathing this year. Do some walking—some Breathwalking.