Updated: May 26
If you’re needing a quick vitality recharge, this 3-part breathing technique is a fabulous tool to pull out of your tool kit.
Combining strong inhalations with synchronized arm movements, the practice awakens, energizes and revitalizes your whole system - increasing blood flow and oxygen and temporarily stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. It helps to stimulate life force or prana. Following up with a forceful exhalation helps the body to release tension.
After completing several rounds, the parasympathetic nervous system (which sustains the body to rest and digest) kicks in, leaving the mind calm and focused.
This practice also counters the shallow upper chest breathing of anxiety by inviting the breath to fill up all of your lungs. Combining the breathing with the physical movement of the body allows you to complete the stress cycle. And once the parasympathetic system kicks in, brings the body and mind back to a calmer more relaxed state.
Part of what this practice can do for anxiety has to do with slowing down the rush of thoughts or 'monkey mind'.
When you focus on your breath and the physical movements of this recharge practice, it facilitates detaching from those thoughts long enough to see them more clearly and truthfully. It provides an interruption or mindful pause to allow you to choose your thoughts more intentionally. Your mind becomes relaxed but not dull, and tuned in yet disengaged from reactionary thoughts and allows space to cultivate more peace and joy.
The peace and joy created by engaging in this vitality recharge practice (or ones similar) can grow over time as you continue the practice, because just as anxious thoughts can create well used paths, a consistent practice and a change in thoughts and mindset that accompany it can also deepen with repetition.
Neuroscience and research on neuroplasticity tells us these new paths deepen with repetition while the other formerly well-used paths will grow over as repeated firing of neurons change the wiring of the brain.
Change your wiring and you change your mind.
Precautions: This practice may not be appropriate for everyone. Do not practice this technique if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, dizziness or vertigo.
How to Practice the Breath of Joy:
Stand with feet hip width apart with knees slightly bent and arms resting at your sides.
Through your nose, sip in one-third of your lung capacity while swinging your arms (palms up) up parallel to each other to shoulder level. Bring the arms quickly back down to starting position.
Sip in the next one-third of your lung capacity and raise your arms out to the side to shoulder level. Bring arms quickly back down to starting position.
Sip in the final one-third of your lung capacity while raising your arms above your head with palms facing one another.
Exhale slowly and forcefully through your mouth with an audible ‘ha’, bending your knees and hips and swinging your arms back behind you.
Return to the starting position. Repeat in cycles of 3 up to a total of 9 times.
Close your eyes and notice the sensations in your body - noticing your feet on the ground, the sensations in your legs, arms and your torso right up to the top of your head. Noticing the beating of your heart and the sensations of your breath. Noticing the sensations of vitality and how they may have shifted.
Want to learn more about why vitality is important? Read more on the blog here: 5 Reasons You Need to Create and Sustain Vitality
Interested in more Vitality Recharge Practices? Find more FREE practices in the Vitality Recharge Tool Kit.
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