A pranayam we are currently practicing in my InsideOut program, inspired this post. The breath cycle is inhale 20 seconds, hold 20 seconds, exhale 20 seconds. And again . . .
It can feel really hard to inhale for that long. You can find yourself gasping and struggling to inhale more. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. It feels easier to hold your breath, and not quite so hard to exhale which as Louise Charman-James suggested is a great metaphor for our ability to receive what it is we say we want, to enjoy what we have, and to share we have enough
When I teach about the breath I recall the cycle of the breath which I attribute to buddhists (but I could be making that up). The cycle works like this.
Inhale everything that the world presents to you, no preferences, yep, the challenges and the opportunities (which by the way always brings challenges too). In business terms you could think of this as all the people who interact with your brand, ideal clients and those who are not ideal for you.
Hold as you transmute and transform what you have received taking what you need. Again in terms of business you could see this as facilitating the process of transformation you offer your clients whether you are selling toothpaste, leadership or body glitter.
Exhale your offering to the world. This is the benefit they receive, the change they experience that helps them do what they need to do – toothpaste, smile with confidence, leadership – inspire and guide with conviction and grace, body glitter – well I’ll leave that to your imagination!
Then pause before you inhale again showing your faith that there will always be more, always more for you. Trusting your happy clients will send others your way and return for more.
Yogis often say that shallow breathing reflects a shallow life and that we receive a certain of number of breaths at birth so when we breathe deeply we live more deeply, granting us the privilege of accessing the more subtle realms of life and a longer one too.
We tend to observe more, smile more, react less, respond more intentionally and develop the ability to hold our own centre amidst the chaos that is the world we live in. Was it Hemingway who say that ‘If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs’?
So try the one minute breath again now but instead of working to inhale. Allow the breath to enter you, to gently and slowly fill you completely. Remember that effort is a body narrative and while the breath is of you it is not you, it is coming through you. Now hold that breath and allow it to enter crevice and curve of your body trusting that it is doing its good work and giving you what you need in this moment. Now as gently and slowly let it go. Release it fully.
Notice how calmly you can offer your breath to the world. Notice how graciously you can bring your gifts to others. Do you sound desperate when asking for business or are you issuing a compelling invitation?
You don’t need to yell ‘HERE I AM. LOOK AT ME. LOOK AT ME.’
By containing yourself and radiating your grace, others will be naturally drawn to you. They will want what you are having. They will feel it.
Everything works in cycles. Begin to trust yours starting with your breath. Know that once you trust yourself, you can trust others and then the whole world will trust you. You’ll have the balls to only promise what you know you can and will deliver. These are your gems to be mined, refined and polished just by coming to know and controlling your breath. Yep, Start with you.
Let me know did you try it? How did it feel? Use the icons below to share if you know anyone at all who might need on occasion to keep their head instead of losing it. I’m looking in the mirror and I know I do. Enjoy your day and thank you for being here