Take a full, deep breath and make an effort to really fill your lungs. You might want to stretch your hands up to the sky to help you breathe as deeply as you can.
Normally we only breathe 20% of our lung capacity and this is true even for top athletes. With a little effort and attention on our breath, we can breathe in more, and more. When we expand our breath, we increase our ability to connect inside ourselves where we can access the proven benefits of meditation - like more calm and focus.
Our very own breath is one of our most powerful tools we can use in meditation. Breathing has been used by meditators throughout the ages, because breathing allows us to travel more deeply within.
Take another deep full breath. Pause. Breathe in some more, and then pause. Breathe in some more, and pause and repeat this action until you feel totally full of oxygen and energy. Experiment with this exercise when you are in a place you feel safe and free from distractions. See what it feels like to stretch open your chest in every direction when you breathe in.
Imagine you are breathing from your belly all the way to the top of your chest. You can feel your ribcage stretching open on the sides and to the front and the back of your body. Allow your lungs to get filled up like a balloon inside of yourself, and imagine that every corner of your lungs gets filled up. If you feel tightness in your chest, gently stretch your hands up or to the sides as you continue to breathe.
Gentle movement and stretching as you breathe will help you open up your breath and let go of any tension you might be feeling in your body. Trust how your body wants to move.
Deep breathing like this is a great way to prepare for your meditation. Sometimes when we breathe deep, emotions bubble up to the surface. Let them come and let them go. Trust yourself and your emotions, as you breathe and let go. Keep breathing through it all.