Breath is the thread that connects us all. Breath carries rejuvenating life force (prana) into our body, then releases toxins and tension out of our bodies. In fact, 70% of toxins in our bodies are eliminated through the lungs. Breath is always there, constantly, effortless. But have you tried putting effort into your breath? It’s amazing!!!
Breath is the number one takeaway tool from yoga in my (and many other’s) opinions. Once you form a relationship with your breath and learn to control it, rather than allow it to control you, it can affect literally every aspect of your life. To name a few of the many benefits of deep, steady, controlled breathing:
- lowered heart rate
- lowered blood pressure
- improved core musculature (really!)
- improved circulation
- natural painkiller
- improved posture
- reduced inflammation
- increased energy
- stimulated lymphatic system
- improved digestion
- the list goes on…
So how do you practice breathing? The first step is to set is as your intention: the idea that you return to over and over to give your practice meaning and purpose. If you forget your breath, that’s OK! Just come back to it when you remember.
And begin to notice: when do you hold your breath? How are you breathing? Are you breathing deeply or rapidly? What does that indicate about your body, mind, energy levels, emotions? Acknowledge where you are at in each moment so that you can move through your practice with intention to care for that state of being, shifting it into something more peaceful and healthy.
After you’ve repeatedly practiced your breathing on the mat (can you keep your breath slow and steady in times of challenge?), begin to practice breath control off of the mat. When you are feeling scared or stressed or angry, can you keep your breath calm and steady?
Anytime I draw a blank on what to pick for my intention, I always come back to breath. It will tend to your needs, no matter what state you are in, always. It will change your life! It will change your experience and the experiences of those around you. It will create more peace and trust and joy in each moment, if you can commit to practicing breath, habitually, always.