Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Power of a Simple Sigh
(Toby cat claiming my meditation cushion is really for him.)
I know that getting back into the body can seem like an overwhelming idea at first to people. Or we overwhelm ourselves by trying to make it too complicated.
So I have a super simple suggestion about sighing.
When I was doing my yogadance training at Kripalu, I had to attend 6:30 AM yoga classes every day. These were Kripalu tradition yoga classes, and let me tell you, they love their noise making there. At first, all the sighing and the totally loud exhales of yummy made me really nervous. I am a private person and very modest and more than a bit afraid of feeling exposed and vulnerable.
While I was there, then, I did not vocalize as we were asked to. I would pretend. And it wasn't like you could tell that I was cheating because everyone around me was so damn loud!
Cut to a few months later and I am teaching.
It became quickly apparent that for women this making noise and breathing deeply thing were all intertwined. I was (and still am) surrounded by women who breathe way up in their chests and who will not sing in public much less make other "unattractive" noises.
Talk about 5th chakra blockages! (For some work on your 5th chakra, go here.)
Now I see my main thing as a teacher is to get women to make noise. To let stuff out of their throat and shoulder and heart areas.
By my second class, I was demanding that they exhale OUT through their mouths and make the sound "Har," which in Kundalini is excellent for releasing anger. And I spend a lot of time yelling "I can't hear you!!!"
They laugh but they are getting louder all the time.
I even start classes with a bit of this noise making, and I have discovered that the simple Sigh is a very powerful tool.
Here's what I want you to do:
Sit comfortably. Start paying attention to your breath. Focus a bit on your shoulders and throat. Just check in.
Now take a very deep breath into your belly. You'll probably notice that this feels tight and is difficult.
Take another deep breath but pull it into your upper chest and scrunch your shoulders way up toward your ears. You are physically mimicking internal feelings here. Hold the breath for a moment and feel your feelings.
When you let it out, let your entire body drop into a sloppy, gravity-pulled hunch.
The exhale should be big, through your mouth, and powerful. I want noise here, people. Big. Loud. Beautiful Sighs.
Do this about six times.
Then sit and try to take that belly breath again.
Notice the difference.
Body says thank you.