Spreading the Hands

  1. Stand with knees slightly bent is preferable with tail bone tilted gently forward. Or, supported by a small round pillow sit near the front edge of a fairly hard surfaced chair, stool or arm of a couch, with your feet flat on the floor. Both of these positions need an erect but not stiff posture.
  2. Stand or sit "tallest" with your chin even with (or above) the horizon and gently tucked in. If you stand, bend your knees slightly… to unlock them.
  3. Lightly touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth and let your jaw relax.
  4. Relax your belly. Let it hang down. Let go of any thought of having a "pot belly" or not having “wash- board abs".
  5. Place your thumbs over your kidneys (below your back ribs and above your pelvis Wrap your fingers around your sides towards your belly button (as if you are getting a front-to-back firm grip on “love handles” - or that general area). Get a good grip by squeezing your fingers and thumbs together firmly
  6. Then breathe through your nose (a long, slow, deep 3-count in-breath). Force your squeezed fingers apart with your in-breath, against the tension in your squeezed fingers. (Use the force of breathing-in to make your fingers and thumbs expand.)
  7. Then relax your grip and slow down the exhale so it lasts for a count of seven (7). Never tighten the belly to extend the exhale. Simply slow the speed of the out-breath. Always keep the belly relaxed.
  8. Repeat, using a 3-count inhale and 7-count exhale.

Rationale: The lungs are smaller at the top. This means it’sless effective to only breathe into the high chest because there’s very little lung volume there. The mid chest and lower rear lung area are where the major breathing volume is located (the back of the trunk from mid back to waist). This area allows the most expansion. Tension in the low back tends to restrict expansion, so this activity will help access that space.

Source: Michael White www.breathing.com