For two weeks, I practiced ratio breathing with the idea of getting up to 2:1, creating longer holds on the inhalations than holds on the exhalations to create an energizing pranayama practice preferably in the beginning of the day. For the first two days I practiced in the morning before doing my cardio run in the morning. This led me to experimenting with my breath while running. At times I would try to hold a steady breath with Ujjayi qualities but fuddled for air quickly and went back to the heavy exhalations with the energy exerted. During the pranayama practice during these mornings, I set a timer and found myself feeling the morning during this pranayama went slower. During this time of focusing on my breathe, ten minutes felt very long. I tried to let the thoughts of the day ahead of me pass and stay present in the moment.
It was very difficult so on the third day I tried the pranayama practice at night. I found it very helpful to do before bedtime. I would prop my back, chest and head slightly up with pillows and lay on top of the covers (laying underneath the covers made me think of bedtime and it was in the late evening about 1 hour before bed when I did this) practicing this pranayama. With the steady inhalation and exhalation, I found it very hard to create a larger hold on the inhalations in this position. After adjusting a few times, the position felt comfortable and I tried again on the fourth night with success.
As someone that has had bouts of Asthma attacks ...
This really made me more interested in my breath. As someone that has had bouts of Asthma attacks with different contributing factors for the attack, focusing on my breath outside of a yoga asana practice seemed a natural transition yet something I had overlooked. Throughout the course of this practice, breath was on my mind all the time. I listened to other people’s breath, I noticed their change in voice when a heavy inhalation with wheezing was needed. During my excited phases of talking to people, I found myself simulating this same effect and redirected my breathing to calm me down. This helped me affect my relationships with others by becoming an example of breath. Meaning, I tried to steady my breath, create patience, and wait to talk to allow the words to soak in more clearly for whatever idea (abstract or real) I was trying to present or receive from another person. During this time, I also hosted a yoga retreat for a few days and also taught some of my previous learned gentle breathing techniques for calming the mind to the students.
They responded in amazement of what their breath was doing to them and it was great to see them at the tip of their iceberg in exploration of the breath.