THE ECHO EXHALATION
I learned this Pranayama (breath observation) by reading B.K.S Iyengar’s Light on Life
The Echo Exhalation is simple:
- Steady inhale through the nose
- exhale slowly and fully through the nose
- Hold the breath
- Exhale again through the nose
- Concentrate and continue for 3-5 minutes
This fourth step is key! As Iyengar says “There is always this slight residue left in the lungs. In that residue is to be found the sludge of toxic memory and ego.”
The lungs hold onto stagnant, stale energy. Think about it like this. If a situation gets intense and heavy have you noticed how you have a deeper exhale? It’s because it’s all down there… buried way down deep in the lungs – fear, frustration, jealousy, rage, bitterness, anger, resentment and grief. That heaviness is literally the “sludge” and “toxins” of our emotions. We’d all like to release this residue as our emotions are all energy. Energy moves through movement so the way to move the lungs is through the breath.
It’s also a perfect breath practice for this time of year as Autumn is all about letting go. Like the leaves shed their leaves and don’t hold onto them, we can let go of some of our unhealthy attachments and habits no longer allowing them to stagnate and fester. Let’s shed those layers, release the old and dead to make space for the new and fresh.
STREAM OF CONSCIOUS JOURNALLING
Following the video, in a calm relaxed state, take your journal or some paper, perhaps get cosy with tea and light a candle and consider these Autumn journal prompts.
Take as long or as little as you like. You might like to try Stream of Consciousness journaling. Set a timer for 3 minutes per question and write every thought that enters your head around that question. Your writing might say “I am thinking, I don’t know what to say, this is stupid, I feel confused” etc. etc. Don’t let your pen stop moving until the timer goes. Release it all out and let it go.
- What do you long for?
- What’s in the way?
- What’s old and lingering in your body and/or mind?
- What new beginnings, goals, adventures, projects are you ready to get started?
- How can you make space to allow the new to enter?
Journaling is a win-win! It’s an incredible stress management tool and particularly good if like me you struggle with anxiety. When the stress hormone is lowered in the body our blood pressure goes down and our immune system is boosted. It’s a good healthy habit for managing your mental health, unwinding and processing the difficulties and challenges life throws at us. It’s another method, like yoga, that leaves us feeling better at the end than when we began the practice.
Simple self-care can go a long way for your mental health and overall wellbeing. I wish you all the best with these practices and please know:
With love and light