Breath of Joy
If you are feeling down and out, foggy, fatigued or crabby the Breath of Joy will bring some invigoration and energy into the body, mind and spirit. The sips of breath will fill your body with life force energy and the whimsical free form movement might just put a smile on your face.
To start the exercise, come to standing with your feet a bit wider than hip width apart. Knees should be slightly bent in order to feel movement and buoyancy in the legs. Arms are going to swing forward in front of the heart while inhaling 1/3 of your lung capacity, then out to the side like wings while sipping in another 1/3 of you lung capacity and then up over head filling the lungs completely. The idea is to take three sips of breath through the nose, which will equal one big inhale. On the exhale you will bend forward and let the arms swing down with you almost like you are hiking a football between your legs. As you do this, be sure to bend your knees generously to protect the back. The exhale is through the mouth. The idea is to find deep release so let the air come out from the belly, maybe even letting out a sigh.
Another great option is to actually verbalize something that you would like to let go of as you exhale and swing the body and arms towards the earth. For example if your intention is to let go of fear, you would just say fear as you bend forward. Imagine that you are sending fear behind you or into the earth, really imagining letting it go.
If you are a beginner start with 5 rounds of the breath, working your way up to 10 rounds. If you feel dizzy while doing this breath, come to your hands and knees or just bring your hands to the earth with your legs bent and breathe normally for a few breaths.
When you finish the breaths, come to standing and observe the effects of the pose. Notice how it makes you feel and any sensations that might arise in the arms or the face.
Please modify or skip this practice if you have high blood pressure, an eye issue such as glaucoma or a headache as it will increase blood flow.