One Breath at a Time – Mindfulness & Meditation – Learning the Language of Yoga
“As practice continues, a student’s ability to concentrate improves, profound inner awareness develops, and the asanas become ‘meditation in action’.” ~BKS Iyengar
We are hearing more and more about “Mindfulness”, “The Law of Attraction”, “Will What You Want”, and “Visualization”. Are these just buzzwords and phrases now that it has all become so mainstream? Or perhaps, these words and messages have made an impact and we are all starting to “get it” and trying our minds at being a little more meditative and a little less judgmental.
We are in new times. Our political paradigm is shifting in ways that may ultimately affect our finances, health care, social services, safety, and perhaps even some of our freedom. So as a passionate yogi, what can I do to help myself through the discomfort and stresses of how we are governed and controlled?
What I am about to suggest is not for the weak. Not for those looking for a quick fix or instant gratification. These methods of coping and survival are not for those looking for the easy road out or lack commitment. However, if you sit on the other side of the fence and are eager to get your hands dirty, willing to take on the uphill journey, put in your time and pay your dues, I think you will be at peace knowing, you are part of a community who seem to be intrigued and opened minded to Mind-Body practices.
As a Yoga Practitioner, I often tell my clients…yoga is like a self-help book that will guide you to your answers. Yoga is a long uphill road, where you may have to practice a pose over and over until nausea sometimes, before your body will respond. Yoga will require you to sweat the small stuff, dissect your movements and perform drills to teach the body a new language. Yoga will ultimately allow the body to feel some things deeper than perhaps you are currently aware. When the body starts talking you know the magic is only a matter of breaths away.
Using both a physical practice with your limbs and incorporating purposeful and various breathing techniques will have a profound change in your mindset. Growing amounts of research on the subject indicate that Yoga, Meditation, and Breath Control, as cognitive methods of therapy, work! Our breath is ready and available whenever we are open to receive the offering. It lives inside of us just waiting to exhale.
When we experience breath from the crown of our head to the base of our tale bone, we can then realize how much more of the body we have to utilize for breath and support. Mr. Iyengar teaches us that with our breath, we will build endurance, alignment, strength, stability, and mobility. Allow this into your practice and you will begin the journey of Mindfulness and Meditation.
Always consider adding breath to every action you perform on or off your mat. Lengthen each inhale by scanning where your breath starts and stops along the vertebrae of the spine. Encourage the breath to expand the body in the areas of the chest, ribs, and diaphragm. And when ready to exhale, allow your body to release the air more slowly than you would like, almost doubling the length of your inhale. Always inhale and exhale through your nose for more control and containment of the breath. Finally, pay attention more often and on purpose. Observe with no judgment and an open mind. Be present and focused moment by moment. Find something you are grateful for everyday. Meditate in action.