“Breathe slowly.  What’s your hurry?”
Sayings, by Swami Veda Bharati

Before you begin, get a journal and make a commitment to yourself in writing that you will do these daily practices for the next six weeks.  At the end of each week, write in your journal on what you learned about yourself during the week.

Week One:

  • Observe your breath periodically during the day, checking if you are breathing diaphragmatically through the nostrils.  Work with this non-judgmentally and make changes within your capacity.  If you habitually breathe a certain way, make a commitment to a gradual transition to diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Lie in crocodile pose (on your belly, arms folded in front of chest) for 5 minutes each day this week. Observe the breath at the navel area.

Week Two:

  • Continue observing your breath periodically during the day, checking if you are breathing diaphragmatically through the nostrils.
  • Observe your breath in shavasana (lying on your back) for 5 minutes each day this week.  Allow the breath to become smooth, even, silent and without pauses, jerks or breaks or noise.

 Week Three:

  • Continue observing your breath periodically during the day, checking if you are breathing diaphragmatically through the nostrils.
  • Continue to work with breath awareness in either crocodile or shavasana for 5 minutes each day this week.  Do some gentle warm ups for an additional 10 minutes each day.  Allow the mind to be focused on the practice and let go of external thoughts and problems.

Week Four:

  • Continue observing your breath periodically during the day, checking if you are breathing diaphragmatically through the nostrils.
  • Continue to work with breath awareness in either crocodile or shavasana for 5 minutes each day this week.  Do some gentle warm ups for an additional 10 minutes each day.  Allow the mind to be focused on the practice and let go of external thoughts and problems.
  • Find a comfortable position and sit still, with no movement in the body except for breathing, for 5 minutes each day this week.  Observe any connection between thoughts in the mind and the urge to move the body.  Journal about your experiences each day and review at the end of the week.

Week Five:

  • Continue observing your breath periodically during the day, checking if you are breathing diaphragmatically through the nostrils.
  • Continue to work with breath awareness in either crocodile or shavasana for 5 minutes each day this week.  Do some gentle warm ups for an additional 10 minutes each day.  Allow the mind to be focused on the practice and let go of external thoughts and problems.
  • At major transition points, take 2 minutes to follow the breath in the nostrils. Let go of external thoughts and allow your concentration to be on the breath.  This could include when you first wake up, before meals, before beginning something at work, arriving home, before bed, etc.

Week Six:

  • Continue observing your breath periodically during the day, checking if you are breathing diaphragmatically through the nostrils.
  • Continue to work with breath awareness in either crocodile or shavasana for 5 minutes each day this week.  Do some gentle warm ups for an additional 10 minutes each day.  Allow the mind to be focused on the practice and let go of external thoughts and problems.
  • Eat one meal this week without distractions like reading, talking or watching television.  Journal about your observations.

Read your journal entries from the six weeks.  Write your observations and comments on what you have learned about yourself during this process along with successes and strengths you have discovered.  If you would like to make a new commitment to daily practice, write this now in your journal.

Above is excerpted from IHYTA Teacher Training Program homework.

Contact: Lynn Fraser  stillpointyoga.ca@gmail.com