Breathe deeper and the world becomes a better place around you. By Jill Lawson
“The average person completes one inhale and exhale cycle about 20,000 times in 24 hours. How many breaths do you notice and appreciate each day?”
Breathing is essential for life. Without oxygen, we perish. It’s no surprise how savouring our breath during a yoga or meditation practice makes us feel so alive, because our breath is the most vital part of our existence. Breathing is both a conscious and an unconscious activity. We can direct our breath to calm or energise the mind and body, or we can let our natural processes do the breathing for us. The average person completes one inhale and exhale cycle about 20,000 times in 24 hours. How many breaths do you notice and appreciate each day?
The following ‘bone breathing’ meditation is designed to spark an interest in the remarkable nature of our breath in the body, providing the practitioner with a renewed sense of vitality. Practice to shine light and awareness on the prana that radiates from deep within your bones.
Most of us know that during an inhale, the contraction of our diaphragm creates a vacuum effect, pulling outside air into our lungs. Once the air enters our lungs, oxygen is absorbed through tiny sacs called alveoli. Capillaries deliver the oxygen to larger blood vessels where it is pumped through the body by the heart. Once the oxygen has been delivered, carbon dioxide is absorbed and brought back to the lungs, then expelled into the outside air
through an exhale; the relaxation phase of the diaphragm. Muscle tissues and organs utilise the oxygen for life’s processes, but did you know your bones also need to breathe? It’s hard to imagine something as rigid as bone matter needing a breath of fresh air, but capillaries indeed serve our bones with breath.
Do it now
To begin this meditation, come to a comfortable position. Take several deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. Now, follow the path of your next breath. In your mind’s eye, imagine oxygen molecules absorbing into your alveoli, then making stops at each muscle and organ in your body. Next, visualise these molecules soaking into your bones, serving the deep caverns of bony tissue with prana. Feel energy and illumination coming from all of your 206 bones, as if seeing them with an x-ray machine; bright and alive.
Practice this meditation every morning. Notice how you radiate from the inside out with renewed vibrancy and wellbeing. Make no bones about it, when you glow, the world around you becomes a brighter place to be.
Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher enjoying life on the island of Maui in Hawaii (jilllawson.net)
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.