Try ‘Gentle Rowing Breath’
By Marla Waal
These days I often feel a need to dial my nervous system down. I
recognize that staying in this frenzied state will eventually, or even
immediately, take a toll on my health. If I’m able to anchor into a
calm steady breath, my whole day could shift.
Close your eyes and imagine you are out on a calm body of water. It
could be a lake, river or ocean. Maybe you have a favourite place you
can recall? Picture yourself there in a simple row boat, canoe or
kayak. You could even be with a loved one. As you reach your paddle
forward, softly inhale without any urgency. Place your paddle in the
mirror-smoothe water and pull back in a long steady stroke. This is
your exhale. Pause your breathing as you imagine drawing your paddle
forward. Quiet, gentle inhale as you begin again. Continue this for
at least 10 breaths, soft, slow and quiet, almost invisible. Your
breathing, like your paddle leaves no mark.
When we ‘take a deep breath’, it’s often loud, labored and effortful.
This mimics our stress-breathing pattern and can keep us in our
already high stress state. As an experiment, try the ‘gentle rowing
breath’ and see which is more effective for you.
“A perfect man breathes as if he is not breathing.” – Lao Tzu