Have you heard AIR I BREATHE by Mat Kearney?
Just hearing the word breathe brings that song to mind…You are the air I breathe. You are the song I bleed. You are the war that I can’t win. This is my white flag in the wind. Every word you speak is the air I breathe.
In yoga practice, much attention, time, and focus is given to breathing and breaths, inhales and exhales. And just like the song above, at the root of all this oxygenation one finds surrender.
Surrendering is so very tough for me to do
well at all. I like to know it all, control it all, and succeed at it all. My yoga practice has taught me that through breath and breathing I can reign in my energy, I can release discomforts and anxieties, I can slow down a moment, and I can harness power and strength.
I still need a lot of practice in utilizing my breath. In fact, in a full lifetime I may not get it mastered! But I have found a few tricks that help me:
- Inhale and exhale through the nose during yoga practice to fully filter the air breathed in and out; deep breaths fully utilize postures, poses, and transitions.
- Imagine a soft ribbon floating through the torso and lungs and out through the fingers and toes to visualize air being breathed or pushed to every cell of the body.
- Silently count the beats it takes to inhale/exhale. Try to increase the length or number of beats with each breath when slowing the moment, relaxing anxiety, or struggling to fall asleep.
- Remember to take intentional breaths throughout the day, and refocus the mind by coming back to conscious breath when stressed, scared, or overwhelmed.
We will talk much more about breathing as our practice progresses. For now, just enjoy the gift of a deep, cleansing, “feel good” breath!
Day 3 of our “follow me” practice is Uttanasana A, also called Standing Forward Bend or Forward Fold.
Begin from yesterday’s Urdhva Vrikshasana (Upward Tree). Exhale and swan dive hands toward the mat, folding at the hips. Look through legs or up at navel. Don’t worry about straight legs. It is absolutely okay to bend the knees as much as is needed…you might even rest the chest on the thighs first and then lengthen the legs.
Did you find room to release the hamstrings? No room today? No problem.
While in the posture, take a few breaths, try out a few hand placements. Maybe rest hands or fists on the floor. Maybe grab the big toes with the first two fingers of each hand and bend the elbow to deepen the pose. Maybe stand on your palms. Maybe shake the head “no” and shake the head “yes” to relax the neck. Maybe hang like a rag doll. Maybe hold opposite elbows and swing like an elephant. You can do whatever you like, and you should explore and discover what makes this practice your own.
When you’ve had enough, inhale deeply and come back to a standing position. Congratulations!! We’ve completed 3 days…only 363 to go 😉
Now go read 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
May you find surrender in the air you breathe.
With love and hugs,