Breathing for Strength
Posted on November 30, 2017
A lot of yoga practitioners would hear an iteration of the phrase where you should prioritize your breathing more than your yoga pose. More experienced teachers would say that mastering the asana means mastering the breath and that’s why it comes first above everything.
I re-learned recently how powerful the breath could be especially during a time you took a break from the Ashtanga practice. Coming back from a whole three months of planning for a wedding, making sure all my clients were alright before going on leave and gorging on French croissants and Spanish tapas – I was so afraid of facing who I was when I got back on the mat.
I was so fearful of who and what my body had become that it came to a point where I said I’ll actually take a bigger break from yoga. Which was stupid, really, and I was glad I woke up from that.
I learned that “Consciousness and the Breath as tools for Mindfulness”While it makes much sense to me, there’s still a small part that has to react to this sentence.“What in the what?”
Focus on your breath so you can focus on yourself – specifically, parts of your body.
This is the part where you’ll sum up that I pretty much talk to myself 90% of the time. And I take it up a notch by talking to body parts.
I found that when I was so attuned to my breath, my brain naturally picked up signals on where the breath traveled around in my body. The science behind it was oxygen of course but let’s stick to simple. It’s too “up there” as it is when I re-read my sentences.
Every time I inhaled or exhaled I made sure to draw it out and it felt like a ribbon traveling to places that are tight or heavy and the exertion to move was more natural and instinctive.
What happened then was my mind disconnecting the worry from my body. I saw that when my brain asks a limb to do something, worry usually blocks that up and I immediately just give up and ask for help. But because I was breathing, my mind was clear of the fog that usually comes with a long practice. When my brain communicated to my shoulders to bind around a specific pose – they just did.
Funny thing as well was that I wasn’t in shock. I had reach a state of calm in my practice that I just thanked my hip for extending, or my thighs lifting from the quads. I’m not saying I turned into Wonder Woman right away but because I exerted less mental effort, my energies were used in places where I needed them in the practice –like lifting me off my mat in jump through.
I came out tired yet energized and a great settling feeling in the center of my chest. All good signs of a great practice. So now, that what I try to remember. I exert more effort in the breathing than the dread.
There’s so much about the western influence that makes us think that everything has to be logical and justified at face value. But it’s proven in the practice that sometimes to learn and lead – you have to surrender your mental independence and follow an unknown force within you.
Pretty amazing and scary how this phrase can be so relevant in spirituality, religion, and even physical strength.