"All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports."
Today, a student posed such a powerful question in my Gentle Yoga Class, that I felt the lesson was worth sharing. She asked, "why do you always remind us to breath? Are there students who don't breath? Won't they pass out? " 🙊
In my experience teaching, many students seem to hold their breath when learning something new, challenge themselves or are stuck in their heads.
Our breath is the universal language that establishes our mind / body connection. When we breath in, we deliver messages from our mind of how to maneuver our body parts based on logic and understanding of the pose. When we breath out, our body sends feedback to our brain of what feels good and what needs an alternative option. It's an ongoing conversation as long as we're breathing and a vital line of communication for harmony in our practice.
If I see my students holding their breath or barely breathing, I try to resuscitate their flow by mediating the dialogue between their brain and bronchi by guiding them through the pose and explaining how to tell their body what to do and how to do it. Then, I ask them where they feel it to give their body a chance to speak up.
It's almost guaranteed that, when they notice a body part speaking to them, they gasp in excitement to share. It's this very deep breath in that ignites their next common ah-ha moment of sighing a breath of relief when finally understanding what they need to do next with that body part. And hence the conversation is now fluidly evolving as the deep breath out inadvertently delivers the message to the body for the next round of practice.
It's quite remarkable to watch this silent film happen every time I teach. When you see it all happening as you're explaining this exact concept, it's comedic too. 😜
Did you notice your breath while reading this? Do you notice the messages you're delivering to your body with each breath in? And what is your body trying to tell you with each exhale?
"Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun."
- Miguel Ruiz
If you woke up tomorrow and all the words and phrases and meanings of life were wiped away, what do you think you would do differently than you did today? What if you opened your eyes and the first occurrence that came to you ignited in your heart rather than alerted in your head? Imagine a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime where your gut instincts were louder than your racing mind. How would your actions change if your silent intuition was more compelling than your boisterous reason?
Recently, the life lesson that we are what we think has been popping up all over the place and felt it came just in time as my life has been transforming into a reality that I had to first believe in and then think into existence before it could all come together. Some call this manifesting, others credit it to "hard work", and others shrug it off as a coincidence; I say all of the above.
My dreams that I've taken time to sit and ponder until they began feeling almost tangible are those which I feel I've manifested into existence. However, it wasn't as simple as sitting legs crossed, eyes closed and heart open to see them into fruition.
Once I felt so convinced that my dreams would become a reality, I got my ass in gear and went to work. Any and all steps that will build me up or prepare me for my next level in life, I go all in and do until I can't do it anymore. This hard work always pays off because it builds a solid foundation for what's next and also allows me to validate my desires and easily leave behind any that I find aren't going to align with my needs.
During this process, the inevitable happens: time passes by until the right moment occurs. Suddenly, the chance to make my dreams come true proves my hard work from the past payed off and my once simple thoughts have become my reality.
What are you thinking into existence? 💭