You're already breathing anyways. Can you make it a conscious breath? When life gets crazy and we lose track of our breath, we lose track of our physical body and our connection to it. We need only remember that we carry around with us this magical tool; the breath. The practice of lengthening the breath and learning to breath fully into our lungs naturally expands our life force and well-being. Without the practice of mindful breathing most of us cut off our connection to our body and over time will lose a significant amount of our lung capacity. According to YogaWorks, (Copyright 2015), statistically speaking, due to unconscious breathing, by the time we reach old age, we "will have lost up to 30% of our vital lung capacity".
For those of you that join me on the mat for a regular Yoga Asana practice you know I am fond of the mantra, "let your breath be your guide, and your one true teacher". By this I mean, can you let your inhalation tell you when to initiate movement; can you let your exhalation dictate how much depth your body will allow? Yes, I am technically the teacher in this class setting, but I am not in your body as you are. You are the one who knows your body best. I am merely suggesting options that may or may not work for you. We each have our own personal edges that we are working towards, and we each have this innate gift of the breath to guide us there. When the breath shortens, stops, or catches in our throats, our body in its infinite wisdom is telling us something. Do you have the courage to back off and listen? The ego often gets in the way of our yoga practice. It's so easy to get swept up in the fun fancy shapes we want to make with our bodies. We attach ourselves to this idea that a Yogi is someone who can make themselves into a pretzel or effortlessly stand on their hands. As I move deeper into my own personal practice I find that moving slower and connecting with my breath, is a more advanced practice. Especially when the ego says, you should be able to do this posture. When I catch myself in that narrative I realize 'Ah that is the ego', that is not my true self. True self-knowledge comes as a part of learning to ride the rhythm of our breath in order to deepen our practice and remembering that this happens on its own time without forcing yourself into a position your musculoskeletal system isn't ready for.
This week will begin and end our practice with breathing exercises to guide us back to our mind-body connection and ultimately increase our quality of life force, our Prana. Come join me and see what unfolds for you.