Exhale the Fullness

sigh with sound

A sigh is worth a thousand words. It can convey and release different feelings: contentment, frustration, anticipation, anger, satisfaction. I’ve been toying around with sighs lately because I’ve been stressed and thinking that whenever my 5-year-old has a big emotion, I should pause and take a deep breath instead of reacting.

But I found that what my body wants to do in those moments is to sigh. A deep breath feels too controlled or even contrived. A sigh is more powerful and lets out what feels like a mommy tantrum that wants to explode.

Not all sighs are created equal, though! Just as you can say the same word with different tones (for example, you can shout ‘Yes!’ with excitement, draw out a long ‘Yesss…’ tentatively, or even say it quietly with resignation), you can sigh with relief, frustration, sadness, or another feeling.

So when you feel that urge to sigh, do it! Then ask yourself, ‘What is the feeling that this sigh is conveying?’

Here are some fun yogic ways to practice what you might call mindful sighing:

  1. Cleansing breath with or without vocalization

  2. Sigh with lip flutter

  3. Lion’s breath

  4. Snake breath

  5. Ocean breath

Here’s a little video with some guidance on using these “sighs!” Have fun:)

This is an excerpt from a Yoga Mama Manual I’ve been writing this past year. Let me know if you find it useful and/or fun!