Finding the Breath

As September rolled in…..okay, I confess! September is nearly over and my blog is very overdue! To this, all I can say is – how truly September of me!

September is one of those months I find just evaporates for so many reasons.  Although it of course marks the end of summer time, it also signifies the start of new routines and schedules. Work changes, school starts, and all of the events of fall come pouring in.  We also start to plan like there is no tomorrow! Arrangements, catching up with folks we may not have seen during summer, and of course there is is the elusive question “What are my plans over winter break??!

September is always a roller coaster month, and I personally just choose to ride it rather then fight it – bring on the busy-ness 🙂

As we all settle back into a new routine in September, I too resume my teaching schedule which I always find both fun and comforting.  New sessions bring in opportunities to grow and learn not only as a yoga teacher but as a yoga student as well.  Lately my classes have been focussed on the breath and noticing the breath, more specifically I have been asking the question “What happens to our breath when faced with a challenge?”

When we examine this question on our yoga mats, I have been encouraging my students to notice their breath and how their breath is moving when they are faced with a pose that may challenge them, for any particular reason.  Perhaps the pose is physically challenging like plank or warrior I; perhaps the pose challenges their flexibility, such as suptapadangustasana or pigeon pose; or perhaps the pose simply challenges the mind by requiring stillness like savasana.  Regardless of what the challenge is, turning our awareness to how it effects the breath can encourage using the breath as a vehicle for calm.  Breathing through the posture will help calm the mind and body and will more than likely create more ease in the posture.

When we take our yoga off of our mat into our regular everyday lives, we can still apply the same principles.  What happens to our breath when we are faced or confronted with a challenging situation?  One of the examples of this that comes to mind takes us back to when we were in school.  We are walking down the hall feeling relatively content…but wait…we walk into one of our classes and we encounter the words “surprise quiz!”  We immediately gasp and what more than likely happens? We hold our breath.  Holding of the breath can happen in a variety of scenarios and in many different ways.  Shock or surprise can result in a holding or stopping of the breath; over-exertion of energy can result in holding the breath – I tend to think that the breath does not move freely whenever we are faced with some kind of challenge.  Yet, when these situations arise, in actuality it is extremely important if not the most important thing to breathe through them.  Holding our breath creates anxiety and confusion;  physically when we hold our breath we build up CO2 and deplete oxygen in our bloodstream.  We need O2 in the bloodstream for our bodies to function in a healthy way – ergo, we  need to breathe and breathe freely.

As with anything we examine in the bodies, all we can do is attempt to try new things and see what happens.  Perhaps just beginning to notice the situations in which the breath doesn’t feel free in your own body, can begin to create some change.  Try breathing freely and deeply in that situation or situations and just see what happens.

“When you own your breath nobody can steal your peace”

                                                            – author unknown      

Until next time


2 Replies to “Finding the Breath”

    1. Thanks so much! I really appreciate the feedback :). Wonderful that you have found access to the breath and that this tool helps with any situation that arises. I find the breath such a gift. Namaste


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