In a recent workshop, the speaker said “…we arrive with an inhale and we depart with an exhale…”. I thought about my firstborn…his first breath as he entered life—then I thought about my grandmother’s last breath–how I waited, and it came. It occurred to me that the breath is not only powerful–it is sacred. How have we forgotten this?—the simple, basic foundation of our existence.
Now, at the beginning of my yoga classes, when we sit and I start with the yoga breath (diaphragmatic breathing), I am conscious of both the inhale and the exhale, feeling each one with deep gratitude. I am also conscious that my breath is shared by everyone in the class, and that it is also contributing to the whole of life around me. In a book I recently read The Art of Doing Nothing by Veronique Vienne and Erica Lennard, they state “…we are the gardeners of the earth”. What an extraordinary thought! I am both grateful and blessed for the opportunity to simply breathe.
In my yoga classes, I remind my students that “your breath is your anchor”. It helps bring your attention to the present moment, when your mind starts to wander. It helps you to focus through challenging poses (asanas) that require both balance and strength and it helps build stamina for the duration of the flow. And as a bonus, it supplies your body with large amounts of fresh O2 (oxygen), something it needs in abundance to function optimally. Being conscious of the power of your breath and breathing deeply is extremely beneficial for every body.