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Taking a time out to breathe

Calming our system on a consistent basis is critical for us to stay on track in sobriety. For those of us who have limited time during the day to meditate or even sit still for an extended period of time, I have a quick and easy technique to share with you called Breath of Fire.

I first learned Breath of Fire at a kundalini yoga retreat and it’s become part of my daily ritual. I’ve found it to be a great way to balance my system and get oxygen flowing quickly to my internal organs. The good news is that it doesn’t take much time at all. It’s incredibly relaxing even if I only have 3 to 6 minutes to dedicate to it each morning and it makes a world of difference in how I face the day ahead.

Breath of Fire is a rhythmic breath with equal emphasis on the inhale and exhale, no deeper than sniffing. Put yourself in a kneeling pose (Vajrasana) – with a cushion to sit on if necessary if you have knee issues. Set your timer to 3 minutes at first and you can always work your way up to longer periods of time.

Begin by extending your arms up to a 90 degree angle and tucking the tips of your fingers into the palm of your hand. Start the breath by pumping the naval point towards the spine on the exhale and releasing the naval out on the inhale. It’s practiced through the nostrils with your mouth and eyes closed. When done correctly, you should feel as if you can go indefinitely. Once you stop, take a deep breath in and hold it for 30 seconds. Upon exhale, you should feel a sense of release and calm as well as a circulation of energy.

In addition to resetting your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, other benefits of Breath of Fire range from massaging your internal organs to purifying the blood and releasing deposits from the lungs. Taking in oxygen in this way also stimulates the solar plexus, generating heat and releasing natural energy throughout the body.

This technique is the first step in using breath as a tool to support your natural healing process in recovery. It’s an amazing exercise that practiced on a regular basis can have a remarkable effect on your state of well-being.

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