On ‘coming up for air’

It’s been an interesting week. It’s August here as of TODAY in the Triangle (well I guess it’s August everywhere) and in my small circle that means one thing…”last chance for vacation folks!” Grab the kids, the dog, board up the house and get thee to the water, mountains, ANYWHERE but here in the typically sweltering humidity (which thankfully has been a little more forgiving than usual). All this to say- my schedule is a little lighter than usual. Less teaching more admin work; less seeing lovely faces of my small community, and more hunkering down and catching up. This is all well and good. It’s even necessary. However, amidst the technological frenzy of emails, spreadsheets and social media yesterday I caught myself in an unexpected place. The awkward scene of the yoga teacher who ISN’T BREATHING. I mean really?! I spend hours a day practicing just that, breathing: moving and breathing, sitting and breathing, chanting and breathing….and here I am Breath-LESS? What gives?

The beautiful thing about recognition is that it brings us back from the distraction, the fluctuation, to the steady place. So I did just that. I hunkered down for a different purpose. Turned off the Mac products and watched my breath flutter, rise, fall, relax, tense, ebb, flow. I kept receiving an image of those little air plants as I lie there. You know, the ones that seemingly need nothing but air to thrive? Sooo still on the surface, but vibrant, resilient and clear on their own needs inside. No soil, little to no water, just breath and a good solid foundation…so I took the cue. I reclined and breathed. Inviting in the nourishment of my sacred surroundings of my practice space and meeting the healing energy with my own internal resources as they started to surface and rebalance.

Do you find yourself needing to come up for air? How often?

Here is a super simple step-by-step guide to reconnecting with the breath:

  1. Lie down in a comfortable and quiet space. If you feel tension in your spine place a rolled towel or long bolster under your knees, maybe a hand towel rolled under the neck.
  2. place your hands gently on the belly and take a few deep breaths in to the palms allowing the palms to relax down in to the texture of your belly with each exhale.
  3. Relax any force behind your breath and just watch it naturally come in and out. Try to release any agenda for balance or speed and just observe.
  4. Notice what you notice when it happens and then let it dissolve. This is the practice of non-attachment. Just let each observation be another thing to notice rather than a trip down the rabbit hole of mental fluctuation and distraction.
  5. In time maybe move one hand to your low back or side waist or even heart as you observe the relationship of breath in your belly moving to other parts of your body and carrying that nourishment.
  6. TAKE ALL THE TIME YOU NEED until you feel wholly aware of the moment in which you are experiencing the breath.
  7. When you move out, do so slowly and sit for a moment with the eyes closed before transitioning into the next part of your day. Make a conscious choice to carry the breath with you as a vehicle for focus and peacefulness in your life.

Can’t wait to see you all soon and hear about your Summertime adventures. I’ll have a few of my own to share i’m sure but right now i’m basking in the glory of a full and easy exhale.


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