How do you feel when someone says “Just breathe”?

 Grateful? A bit annoyed? Or perhaps relieved to receive a reminder?

 We all know that taking deep breaths can help create more calm.  But have you actually tried it?   There are a myriad of studies proving that your nervous system can and does respond immediately to simply putting active awareness towards your breath.  So, Why not take a moment and try it now?

Step one is simple-close your eyes and just take a moment to just notice what is happening with your breath.  Is it shallow?  Is the inhale shorter than the exhale? All you need to do is notice.  Step two- try lengthening your inhales and exhales longer than your usual breathing pattern, exploring a basic rhythm that feels good to you.  Do this for 3-5 rounds. And that’s it!

Now try practicing this throughout your day. Perhaps before you go to bed this evening or when you first open your eyes in the morning you can try it again.  Connecting to your breath is a simple method to simply be reminded that we are truly human beings and not human “doings”.  Perhaps it will become a new habit you will want to consider after a few more practice sessions.  A little reminder Post-it© note– on your computer screen, or in your closet, or by your bedside— may help you form this new healthy habit.  

A new perspective on modern yoga

One 40 year old former athlete-turned-yoga teacher, J Brown, released an innovative documentary-style yoga video not too long ago.  What I love most about his teaching is that he embraces the concept that the BREATH is the POSE.    J Brown’s teaching is very slow and intentional and it builds on itself. If you start with the breath as your foundation and match your movement to your breath then the breath becomes the focus of your practice.  I believe that this is a wonderful because it provides a platform to make yoga ACCESSIBLE to everyone.  Athletes, children, seniors, even those with chronic pain and mobility issues.  

Check out J Brown’s video here. http://jbrownyogavideo.com

 My take on “slow” yoga 

When I go slowly in my yoga practice, I must admit that I do “feel” more.  I feel not only my body limitations but also my emotions. Which can of course be challenging.  But by engaging the breath–which I recognize now is more present and reliable than even my dearest friend–I can get re-engaged with what is happening on my yoga mat and renew and recommit my focus.

A final few words

   How many of us have been sidelined by illness or injury and were incredibly frustrated and in many cases felt a little depressed about the “aging process” setting in?  Practicing going slowly is a skill that will prepare us for these inevitable times in our life when we are required to go slowly. 

By “practicing” going slowly with intentional breath in my yoga practice, I have been developing new wisdom and actually new “life” skills.  These skills actually provide a new found confidence.  I now get to actually choose the “speed” of my actions and reactions—slow, medium or quick— based the specific effort being called upon.  It’s DEFINITELY something that requires focus and practice!

If you want to explore this further with me, I’d be happy to speak to you one-on-one.