belly.

It’s a common understanding that when you teach a skill, you grow in your own understanding of the skill. 

Anyone who teaches/facilitates can appreciate β€˜reps’. If you are fortunate to teach one lesson multiple times throughout the day, that lesson expands and takes on a more natural flow as the β€˜reps’ build. 

I love the opportunity to facilitate social and emotional lessons to….anyone. I know that my understanding of the lesson expands when I have the opportunity to practice.

The unique thing about facilitating skills, tools, and strategies that grow well-being is that everyone is connected to the energy source of well-being. The energy source of well-being drives the functioning of our cells and fuels all experiences; it is largely invisible, although the evidence of its existence is easily observable in nature.

Well-being is an experience. Knowing one’s personal felt experience and the results that come when practicing skills, tools, and strategies is one thing; transferring that experience in a way that engages others with something that is relevant and easy to understand and apply, can be a bit of a challenge.

Jordan Smiley is a yoga instructor at Kindness Yoga in Denver. There’s just something about Jordan…a something more…that is evident when you receive his practice. Jordan was posted on the Kindness instagram feed this week. He basically broke down the science of belly breathing in a way that one can visualize, understand, and experience – in less than five minutes. I love it.Β 

Hi everyone. My name is Jordan Smiley and I’m here today to offer you a little breath technique or pranayama borrowed from the wisdom of yoga. The breath form we’ll be working with today is called Dirgha Pranayama and it’s a three part breath. Before we dive in I’d like to give you just a little bit of an anatomical reference just in hopes that it lands better in your mind and therefore also in your body. So, the primary component of the body involved in respiration is of course the torso. We can break the torso up into two separate cavities or components. From your rib cage base up to your throat it’s called the thoracic cavity. From the base of your rib cage down to your hips is your abdominal cavity. When we breathe in, the diaphragm – which is the jellyfish shaped muscle that separates those two cavities, presses down against the contents of your abdominal cavity; the organs shift forward to make space for the lungs to expand, and the air around the body flows into the lungs resulting in what we know as inspiration. On exhalation, the diaphragm and the lungs release the air and this we know as exhalation. So if you can picture a water balloon resting on the table, if you were to press down in the center of that water balloon with your finger one side would bulge outward, and that’s what happens in the abdominal cavity when you breathe in. If you were to remove your finger, the fluid or the pressure would equalize between what was the two sides of the balloon, and that’s what happens when we breathe out. So Dirgha Pranayama, it accesses that wisdom of anatomy to help the body expand to the point where it even feels like the hips and the bones on the hips are expanding as well as the thoracic cavity, the chest. This breath form is incredibly calming to the nervous system, it supports deaccelerating our stress or fight/flight response if we encounter a stressful or stimulating circumstance, and it’s also just really soothing. So I invite you here to take a tall, comfortable seat. To let your hands rest on your thighs either palm up or palm down and then to soften or shut down your eyes and start with an exhalation. Draw your navel back so you feel your lungs empty. Breathe into your hips, your belly, and your chest. Exhale from your hips, your belly, and your chest. Breathe in until you feel your waist expand, then your belly, then your ribs. Exhale from your hips, your navel, and your heart. Follow the same three part rhythm relaxing your belly to expand into the same way that a bubble does out in all directions. Encourage your hips to do the same and also your rib cage. It will move outward like the stems on an umbrella opening. When you breathe out, breathe out in reverse. Draw in your hip bones, narrow your waist, and call your ribs back to your very center. And follow this pattern until you start to feel yourself settle and then allow the natural breath to return. Thank you for joining me. You can find out more information at theembodimentproject.com.

Belly breathing. So simple.

I made a slide for a visual if you would like to share with students.

β€œBreath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”

Thich Nhat Hanh