Everything has a rhythm. I always joke that I have no sense of rhythm – I can’t even spell the word. But everything has a rhythm, including me! lol. The waves, your heartbeat, the sun & moon. Everything has a rhythm because everything is vibrating. Everything is energy.
You have a natural rhythm – a state of balance. And we tend to go off ‘rhythm’ by the changing elements in our lives (travel, stress, thoughts, feelings, seasons, etc). None of it is bad, per se. It just is.
Maybe even the off & on rhythm is part of the ‘song’ in itself…
Having said that, if the state of being ‘off balance’ doesn’t get put back ‘in balance’ at some point, it can eventually physically manifest in your body and lead to diseases. So, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that health practitioners listen to your breath in their examinations.
In yoga, my teachers emphasize breath a lot. Breath is a tool for focus and meditation. Listening to the rhythm of your own breath as you practice can calm your nervous system and bring ease into a pose. Inside of conscious breathing, you are less likely to injure yourself. And there is an opportunity to be more efficient in energy use.
I’ve been practicing for a little over a year and have just recently been noticing my breath (here and there!). I notice how I hold my breath in certain poses (upward dog, for example). Moments when my breath is choppy or shallow (I’m not focused or may be pushing myself in the wrong way). Or how my breath shifts when I’m being adjusted. It’s all great news. Being aware of my breath in those moments is an opportunity to rebalance myself.
What I’m seeing is that when I do focus on breath, the dialogue in my head becomes quieter. Sometimes this has me be aware of places in my body where I am tense (and didn’t even realize it!). So being aware of that and breathing through it, has me let go of some tension. In this one pose, letting go actually creates more room in my hips so I can move deeper into a pose. When you let go of something, often it creates room for something else….!
In those poses where I’m holding my breath or it’s shallow, it’s my body that’s moving my breath! (And in some cases, it ain’t moving much lol!)
So, the practice continues….
What moves the breath?
Your nervous system.
For example, notice your breath when you are happy vs when you are scared. And notice how those feelings physically manifest in your body language.
It’s amazing how patterns in your life show up on your yoga mat. One time, I couldn’t relax while in shavasana and even though my eyes were closed, I could feel my teacher coming over to me. My immediate reaction was to get out of the pose. I caught myself and tried to surrender to her. But what came up for me in the moment when she was coming to me was fear. My brain took a past experience and equated it to the present moment. AND my brain wanted to predict the future: I’m going to get hurt. Which isn’t necessarily the truth.
If I’m focusing on breath I wouldn’t be focused on things going on outside of me, things that don’t serve me or things that are not true.
Focusing on your breath has you stay in the present.
Mindful breathing in yoga can calm the fluctuations of the mind. You can see things coming from a balanced state of mind. Mastering the breath may be the access to freedom, peace and truth….
There are all kinds of things about the breath – energy, mechanics, techniques/practices, philosophy etc – to explore here. Practices within practices. It’s all so fascinating!
Lots to explore…one breath at a time!
Breathe. Be. Do. Have.
And peace out.