Reasons to Breathe
By Susan Ni Rahilly
After a month long period of working on creating a new yoga program, focusing on teaching gentle breath awareness has been wonderful . . . and mainly because awe and wonder come as always in remembering and entering into the beginner’s mind, as we are continually supposed to as teachers.
Personally, I love the Yoga concepts of the Bliss State, the stillness of the Ultimate Mind of the Divine which accepts us totally – and the Mother of the Breath which breathes all of us and breathes life force energy into us. One breath, One mind.
Air can be the finest tonic to the soul. And Ayurveda in its practice of elements, guides us that air needs space to move in – so breath needs to flow into us to fill the spaces within . . . breath and joy co-exist in Yoga.
The practice of meditation and yoga take a few minutes of your day to focus on the essential act of breathing. A relaxation with slow breathing as in a Yoga Nidra, is a relaxation of the mundane, conscious mind and intended to bring the sweetness of relaxation to your mind and body so you can experience the joy in your practice.
A long walk, a set of exercises can also bring our attention to bringing oxygen back into our systems. There’s no need to join a gym or embark on a grueling workout regime that can never be incorporated into one’s daily life. Simply take a quiet moment in a favorite chair or a stroll around the block, with only the word “in” and “out” in your head as you breathe.
So, reasons to breathe are:
Breathing in takes no effort . . . that is so Zen. So in tune with Osho, the Zen Master’s contribution to Yoga – relaxed effortlessness! The in breath just happens as the breath breathes you – atmosphere makes it happen as air has to flow in to fill space within. And as the Buddha said: you can just let short breaths be short breaths, and long breaths be long . . . one of the most powerful reasons to learn to breathe with Yoga as far as I’m concerned, is for the relaxation because this builds so much inner confidence.
Breathing makes you feel light . . . because you’re breathing in light – and it makes you feel happy enough if you do enough controlled practice of it . . . for happiness, focus on heart chakra breathing.
Breathing makes you feel strong . . . and of course, I’m talking about controlled breathing practice with awareness on the breath and breath flow. The ancient Yogis learned that they could control and master the emotions with the breath . . . and you will need to control your own tidal waves of emotions to follow your bliss with your spirit!
Breathing may be simple, but it’s powerful – controlled use of the outbreaths releases toxins, helping you balance your inner subtle energies. Control of the breath releases tension from the “pain body” and trains your brain that you are in control.
And just as an insight, whilst writing and recording a guided Chakra Meditation, I am inspired by the fact that knowledge of the Chakras is still a living tradition of the Hopi Indians in North America whose tradition of meditation is as old as that of the South American Indians and the Yogis of India.
. . . so absolute,
It is no other than
too quiet to hear
~ Denise Levertov
Connect with Susan at www.suzenyoga.com