So, I recently moved, packed everything up, put the for sale sign in the yard and got replacement teachers for all my yoga classes. Things got crazy when the boxes rolled off the truck and filled my new apartment. The excitement of the move flew out what I’m sure was a window (said window was blocked by said boxes) and reality smacked me in the face. I had no job, no help and no idea where that freaking window was. I sat down, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. The results were immediate. Peace washed over me. I felt connected…safe. Nothing was in my control—nothing is ever in my control. And most days I can accept that. Big life changes and bad traffic push me. With pranayama, the different breathing techniques we use in yoga, I have a tool to combat the loss of control.
Next time you’re blessed enough to watch a baby or a puppy sleep, check out their belly. Note the rise of the belly with the inhalation, and the fall with the exhalation, listen to the fluidity of the natural cycle of breath. As adults, we tend hold things back; our tongues, our tummies, even our feelings. Most people are chest breathers, using only the top third of their lungs, never accessing the lower lobes. Yoga teaches us to utilize our entire beings. That means using your entire lung capacity to put as much oxygen as possible into the blood stream; giving you more energy, allowing your body to run at full capacity. Smokers smoke to take deep breathes—yes, it’s laced with nicotine and tar and yuckiness, but the “smoke break” is just a deep-breath break.
Next time you’re blessed enough to have that big life challenge, or bad traffic moment, use it as an opportunity to pause, take a full belly breath (two good articles to read: breathing exercises for stress, reduce stress breathing), and allow your blood pressure to lower. Yogic breathing allows us to be present in the moment, and to find that damn window.