This morning one of my yoga clients at Swell: Santa Barbara Athletic Club came up to me after yoga and disclosed that she would be having major surgery next week. She told me she was disheartened with the idea that she would not be able to do yoga or really anything for six weeks. Six weeks she exclaimed. I can’t imagine not doing yoga or anything at Swell: Santa Barbara Athletic Club for the entire month and a half!
My heart went out to her. I thrive on being active too. But this is probably why I also love yoga. It has been a way for me to slow down, connect and often just breathe! There are days when I am rushing to get the kids ready in the morning and head to yoga … let’s just say things are not always easy getting a 3 year old and a 6 year old out the door. But then I get to yoga and breathe and teach and breath (most of the time I am not really doing postures, I am assisting others but the outcome is still the same at the end of the class = total bliss). Now that is always my reminder that life is good. I just needed to take a deep breath!
I then said, “what about breath work?”
She questioned, “you mean pranayama?”
“Yes!” I said.
From the tone of her voice this had not occurred to her.
There is more to yoga than chaturanga push ups, down dogs, and sun salutations. All of these are asanas, and asanas make up one of the eight limbs of yoga. Pranayama often accompanies yoga postures or asanas and can be a great tool to help us find our breath in the moment. But we don’t need to practice asanas to find our breath. We can can simply take a deep inhale and exhale where ever we are. While we are there, we can connect to the presence. Let go of thoughts, ideas, to do lists. For my client. Let go of what has been or what is ahead. Simply breathe in the here and now. While we are there we can even practice dhyana, or simply mediating. Sometimes this seems a little too much. Too time consuming. But it can start out small. One minute. Five minutes. Of breath, of meditation. Of slowing down and simply embracing the moment. It can grow into longer bouts or simply stay with that.
For me, yoga is about learning to move through life as if I were in a yoga class all day long. Just breathe. Just be. Learn to let go and find presence. This is life in progress. And it’s so worth it. I am a happier soul when I live my yoga. When I take deep inhales and exhales. How about you? How do you live your life? What helps you to be present and embrace curve balls that life throws you?
Be well, Emma