Fireworks Breath

Okay, so this post is a little late but it’s never too late to celebrate independence and freedom with a new breath move! 

Kira and I learned this from a video search as we were preparing for the Fourth of July and I was preparing for teaching the weekend rotation at Easton Yoga outside.  This breath is guaranteed to have you be a little silly which I think helps us free ourselves from any fear of judgement and connect deeper with our inner child and imagination.

I don’t know about you but I always loved watching fireworks on the fourth.  There was something about being outside all day and then culminating the event at night by shooting sparkly explosives into the deep night sky and having them light up the dark and send sound vibrations to your ears and body as well.  You can feel them and when you have a ton of people sitting around looking at the same fireworks display – it connects them and creates community.  This is all stuff I love.

So to start the fireworks breath – first come to a comfortable seat.  Imagine that red plaid blanket under your tush and the green summer grass all around you.  Close your eyes.  Feel all parts of you connected to the ground and listen to your natural breath.  How does it feel? Describe it.  Smooth? Relaxed? Labored? Short? Fluid?  No judgement, simply observe.

Then come to bring the hands in prayer in front of the chest.  On the inhale wind the prayered hands up into the air following the entire inhalation up as if the firework is shooting into the sky.  Feel the movement in the wrists as the firework winds from side to side making its way up and up and up until it reaches overhead.  Feel the full length of the arms as they lengthen out from the shoulder joints.  Then – CLAP – the firework explodes into the air!  Imagine all that space above you lighting up.  And then, for the exhale let the hands part and drift slowly down by the sides as if you can envision the particles of explosion softly drifting downward and downward until there is nothing left but a bit of dust.  The explosion has ended.  The excitement has ended.  The palms are resting on the knees or thighs. Take this in.  Let it soften you.  Let it free you.  Let it keep you connected to the present moment.  Let it awaken you.  Let it flow through you.  Try it for a few rounds and notice how you feel after.

On this fourth of July and onward – may this movement bring you peace, joy, and a sense of freedom.


The Belly Breath

Do you have a friend who has one of those really joyful laughs where it feels like they are laughing from the belly?

Sort of like Santa Claus when he Ho Ho’s? Or have you noticed the belly on Buddha- round and plump? Or that of a child? I have often watched my 4 year old strut around the room with a belly as round as could be and a smile across her face. As a woman, I don’t know about you but in the past, I was often more concerned with sucking it in then letting it out. But, the belly breath is an amazing tool to bringing a rooted-ness, calmness, and centering to the body. And the breath is key to helping all of the body’s processes.

Mastering the breath takes time and there are so many different breathing practices within yoga, it can be intimidating where to start and a disbelief as to how powerful it is.  To try, come to lie on your back, knees bent and place both hands on the belly. Close your eyes and inhale as you bring air into the belly and you feel your hand rise. Exhale through your lips as your stomach muscles contract and air is travels up and is released causing the hands to fall. Try this for 5 to 10 minutes each day feeling the rise and fall and the undulation of the belly.

Have fun with it, play some music that relaxes you.

Benefits to belly breathing include:

  • Relaxation – as busy people, we can sometimes spend more time in fight or flight response than the rest and digest. This breath engages the parasympathetic nervous system to help calm the body. Belly breathing activates the parasympathetic system.
  • Improves Exercise Recovery – Athletes often endure exhausting workouts and as adults and parents – we sometimes have exhausting days where we may not have taken a moment to sit down. The body is able to recover more quickly and stay balanced with time to “rest and renew”. 10 minutes a day of belly breathing helps.
  • Improves Digestion and Glucose Levels – I don’t know about you but I know what a spike or fall in blood sugar feels like. Studies are showing that belly breathing helps balance blood sugar as well as improve digestion. Try belly breathing before a meal and sit down to eat! What may require slightly more time in the beginning has numerous health benefits long term.
  • Strengthens the lungs – The stretching and constricting of the diaphragm also helps strengthen and open the lungs resulting in increased lung capacity.
  • Changes Gene Expression – The body’s ability to relax can have a powerful impact on the immune system, energy metabolism, and gene expression. Studies have shown that deep breathing techniques enhanced energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, and tel0mere maintenance while decreasing the inflammation response and stress related pathways.

So this week’s focus is to make our bellies bigger! With air! Practice for 10 minutes a day and if you have time 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Comment below if you’d like to share what you experience.


Namaste & Have a great week