Remember Your Breath


It is tense right now.  I originally titled this blog piece "Hold On To Your Butts" quoting Samuel L. Jackson's iconic line from Jurassic Park.  However, I am not a script writer trying to build tension in an action/adventure story with lethal dinosaurs, I am a yoga teacher trying to help us all to manage our tensions so we can move through our lives in a more thoughtful way.  Hence the new title: "Remember Your Breath." 


When you are teaching a yoga class the first thing you do is help folks to start to consciously regulate their own breathing.  One of the-go to ways I will talk about it is: "Your body automatically know's how to breathe.  Thankfully you do not have to set an alarm to remember to take that next inhale!  However, built into the human mechanism is the ability that any point that you want for you to take control and manually inhale and exhale.  When you start to focus on your own breathing you begin to practice mindfulness; stepping out of fixing, solving, changing or worrying about the past or the future and instead becoming aware of the present moment, present experience."  This is the mind-body connection that is talked about in yoga and meditation. 


So, on the eve of one of the most important elections of our lifetime, during a worsening global pandemic, causing an economic rollercoaster, sparking protests for racial/social/economic equality and justice, sparking reactionary protests...you get the picture!...let's practice some deep breathing.


Find a comfortable seated or standing position.  Close your eyes.  Take a big inhale shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears and then a big sigh out, rolling your shoulder heads down away from your ears on the back.  Take that slowly two more times.  After the third time, allow your shoulder heads to relax.  Feel the open posture you have created.  We'll begin a three part breath practice (in sanskirt this is called Dirga Swasam Pranayama).  Release your air all the way to empty.  Slowly breathe into your low belly and low back for a count of 1 - 2 - 3.  Pause.  Now breathe into your mid abdomen and mid back for 1 - 2 - 3.  Pause.  Top the breath up inhaling to your chest and shoulders for 1 - 2 - 3.  Once full, relax and pause.  Then like you are a quieting a child slowly exhale to empty creating a "Shhh" sound the whole way.  Take it two more times slow and controlled, and then thoughtfully step back into your day!      


Breathe deep and keep honing in that balance.


Much Love,


James

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