Did you know that you currently are doing the most powerful thing to help your mind find more steadiness and tranquility? It’s happening right now and yet you’ve forgotten that you possess this tool, that every minute of every day you have access to utilizing it in many helpful ways. It’s there all the time. It serves you, unnoticed and uncelebrated, without complaint.
Have you guessed? It’s your breath!
Today we all seem to suffer from “shiny object syndrome.” We chase shiny objects and believe that expensive and complex solutions are the way to fix what is not working. The price and complexity must reflect the value, right?
What if the opposite were true? What if there were practices that people have been doing for thousands of years that are so seemingly simple that their transformative powers are being overlooked? Would you believe me? Something I’ve discovered on my path to wholebeing is that often the simplest and most subtle practices are the most powerful.
After meeting my teacher, one of my first practices was to count my inhale and exhale and match them up when I’d practice yoga or movement. I spent a few months doing this and at times it was the most tedious thing ever. Then, I began to experience a steadiness of mind and mood that I’d never experienced before. I don’t have to count anymore but I do keep matching my breath to my practice and my life. It has become a practice, a habit that flows with ease and grace, guiding me back to that steady place every time.
These practices, of the mind and of the breath aren’t secret or even that difficult or complicated and that’s the great news! It is a new pattern of life you will learn to remember and experience the beauty of your breath.
How to get started? First, it’s a pause. (That might be the hardest part!) Inhale and exhale. Truly you can’t do it wrong. With each slow smooth breath, your body and mind reconnect and a whole lot more. Alice Dommert and I continue to be in awe of just how powerful the breath is. Alice has written about Saying YES to the Breath and continues to uncover the science behind what is happening so stay tuned for her posts about vagal tone and the Parasympathetic Nervous System.
While the practice of being conscious about your breath may not be complicated, as you first get started, it also may not be easy. I understand. As I continue to offer workshops to help people along their path, this practice of the breath rarely gets our full attention. Its often see as the background of a yoga practice, and yet on its own, and as a background for wholebeing in life, it has so much to offer.
The breath can be your mind and heart’s best friend! Yes, for you.
I’ve planned a workshop on November 10-12th, The Beauty of the Breath, at a beautiful place that has become a sanctuary for me. The Himalayan Institute is just 3-hours from Philadelphia near Honesdale, Pennsylvania and it is a place where I have learned the value of a pause. It is a place with the right balance of creature comforts and a beautiful natural environment.
At this time of year, it feels especially important to find that pause, to find time to abide in your breath and to find your presence of being. I invite you to join me to hike in the rustling leaves, experience the clean mountain air and be nourished by all that nature has to offer at this time of year.
You will practice gentle yoga to find space in your body and fill your energy tank to overflowing. You’ll learn more about your breath, its power, and how you can befriend it to ultimately shape how you experience each day. And most importantly, you’ll give yourself the most precious gift of time to just be…..cozying up with new friends and connecting over a newfound love of your breath.
I hope you can join me.