BreathingThe breath can be a powerful tool for maximizing your energy during your work with clients. Developing a breathing practice is essential for keeping your body strong and healthy during your work hours, as well as protecting yourself from accumulating negative energy throughout your day.

Here are some easy ways to begin to focus on your breathing and develop your own breathing practice. Be sure to repeat each step several times before proceeding to the next one:

  1. Lying on your back, begin inhaling, expanding your abdomen as fully as you can 360 degrees. Feel your abdomen expand upward and feel your lower back expand to the floor.
  2. Take your abdominal breath and bring it all the way up your torso. Focus on breathing by expanding your entire torso from the inside out. Exhale gently, without contracting and closing up. 
  3. Try focusing on just breathing, from your tailbone up through your spine to the top of your head.
  4. Try breathing through the sides of your body, from your pelvis up the side ribs into the armpits, sides of the neck, and into the sides of the head. 
  5. Try breathing into the front of the body from the pubic bone, up through the abdomen into the chest, front of neck and into the face.
  6. Now breathe through your entire torso and see how much more fully you can access your breathing. Feel how much more expansive, relaxed and free you feel in your body. This is a great place to begin your day of massage practice.

You can learn to use the way you breathe to direct your stroke and the amount of pressure you use while performing massage. A massage directed by the flow of your breath will be much more potent. When you inhale fully, you expand your lungs and your thoracic cage. When you exhale, you send the breath through your shoulders, arms and hands to your client.

Using your breath to guide your work means using less muscle force, and assists you in keeping the impact out of your body by always focusing on the expansion of your lungs from the inside out. It also helps to keep you focused and in a more meditative, feeling state.

Yamuna Zake is a master bodywork educator and the creator and founder of Yamuna® (www.yamunabodyrolling.com), a company dedicated to education and promotion of optimal physical function and body sustainability. While her company and studio are located in New York, her work is practiced across the U.S. and throughout the world. Yamuna Hand and Foot Wakers are ideal tools to stretch, strengthen and connect the hands and wrists up through the muscle and skeletal chains, and to the anterior and posterior shoulder.

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