We live in a fast paced culture. Too many of us suffer from stress related illness. Yoga can be a remedy. It can do this by shining the light of consciousness on our ingrained habits that perpetuate stress. Whether it is a shallow breath or shoulders hutched up to the ears, yoga can reconnect us with the physical habits that mirror of our emotional states. Yoga teaches us to simply be present and observe our breath and our body. When we observe what we unconsciously do, we can make changes that move us toward the path of greater health.
Our life begins and ends with our breath. The breath is what animates the matter of the body. But our breath also connects our bodies to our minds. The patterns of our breathing are deeply related to our psychological states. Working with the breath is literally a doorway into the human nervous system. Instinctively we know this. We tell an anxious friend to relax and take a deep breath but too often we ignore this capacity or can not activate ourselves when we need it most. The ancient yogis developed the science of controlling the breath called pranayama to actively engage the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of conscious breathing.
When the breath is calm and full we can observe our body without judging it. From there we can begin to explore our physical edge. The place where we feel the bodies limits beginning to be challenged but where we still maintain a sense of ease. In the process, you discover your own unique pace where you can increase the feeling of space in the body that begins in the spine and extends through the limbs. As we exhale we ground ourselves and reconnect to the earth and as we inhale we rise upward, feeling light and joyful.
From this spaciousness and light, we connect ourselves with an intrinsic feeling of goodness. Of feeling good not only in body but also in mind. This is the power of the energy of healing and positive growth that the yogis called prana. Feel yourself flowing with the rejuvenating life force of prana with each breath. Then notice how within the motion of this flow there is a place of stillness. In the place between the inhale and exhale, there is a gentle pause that can open us to a place of inner peace. Explore that place.
Tina Tazian RYT200 Teacher at PranaYoga School of Yoga and Health
Join her class at PranaYoga southwest on Wednesdays at 9:15am and 6pm!