Practice 1: Breath, Awareness, Connection

In our first practice, we start by establishing our awareness here, where we are, and then deepen awareness of our breath.  Awareness of breath is a central practice of Yoga, and is really the foundation of the physical practice.  We then move on to a meditation on where our breath comes from, deepening our feeling of connection to the world that supports our existence.

A video of the practice can be accessed on Vimeo here: ClimateYogi Practice 1

Here is a script – “[…]” indicates some time for breathing before moving on:

Stand, find your balance over your feet, feel your weight down into your feet.  The practice starts here – awareness of your whole being and where you are.    You are alive, you are here.  

Be here, completely, connected to Earth by the attractive force of gravity, breathing the air around you, aware through your senses of the environment you are in, and of the movement of your breath.  […]

Breathe deeply and evenly, and notice any tendency of the mind to go elsewhere – to be thinking about another place or time.  The first practice is directing attention to your present experience – what is happening right here and right now, moment by moment, breath by breath.  […]

Feel the body expand with the inhale, and contract with the exhale.  […]

Continue to breathe with awareness, and begin to spiral your arms open as you inhale, and fold them back in as you exhale.  Allow the spine to move naturally as you spread your arms and look skyward on inhale, and look back toward the earth as you exhale.  […]

Consider where your breath comes from – the green plants of Earth, from the single-celled phytoplankton in the world’s oceans to the great trees of rainforests – plants that take the carbon dioxide you exhale and release back the oxygen you need to sustain life.[…] 

Your breath out completes the cycle, providing carbon dioxide the plants use to build their structures and to store energy, that the plants, and many animals, use for food.  […]

With each breath, feel a sense of connection and gratitude for the plants that supply the oxygen you are breathing.  […]

At the end of your next exhale, bring your hands back to your side.  Continue the flow of breath, relax into the support of your feet.  […]

Then bring your hands in front, cupped gently.  Look toward your hands, imagining that you are holding a sphere – the Earth itself.  The air you breathe is in a thin layer around the Earth.  Carl Sagan described it as the thickness of a layer of shellac around a schoolroom globe.  That thin layer of atmosphere, you share with all breathing beings.  Your breath truly connects you to the whole world.  […]

Bring your palms together in front of your heart, close your eyes, and lower your chin toward your chest, concluding this practice of awareness, and connection.

*Note to teachers:  Please use any of these practices or imagery.  If you have an opportunity to give acknowledgement to, it would be appreciated.


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