Monday, April 11, 2011

Namaste Monday: Inhale and Exhale

I recently watched the documentary Enlighten Up! about a woman who followed around a new yogi as he tried to discover what yoga was.  He went to all different studios all around New York, before going to India to meet with different gurus.  I highly recommend it if you want to see that different options out there for a yoga student.  {I'll do a big post about documentaries soon... I'm a totally documentary junkie}.
At the end of the film, the documentarian, Kate, went around NYC asking different people a single questions:
What does yoga mean to you?

This made me thing.  What does yoga mean to me?  Well for one thing, it's a way to increase my flexibility and gain strength to help me with swimming.  I think the physical aspect is what draws a majority of people to yoga.  But then I thought deeper then that.  What else do I gain or hope to gain from yoga?  
And I came up with relief.
Relief from tightness.
Relief from stress.
Relief from close mindedness.
Relief from worrying.
Relief from the everyday life that some people tend to fall into as they grow older.

Since I started doing yoga, but more importantly in the last two months since I rededicated myself to my practice, I've noticed a shift in attitude.  Now I think of things as "I can" rather then "I can't".  My most important realization has come from my new mantra:
"Everything happens for a reason."

This morning, while sitting in lotus posture at the end of class {sweating my butt off might I add}, my teacher said "Where you are is where you are meant to be".
It's true.  I believe that everything happens because it's suppose to.  My life right now is exactly where I'm suppose to be.  
I use to suffer from anxiety a lot.  "What if this" and "What if that" crossed my mind a lot.  Now, when I get these thoughts, I send them away.  So what if something happens?  It happens for a reason.

I contribute a lot of this mindset to breathing.
That relief I mentioned in the beginning of this post comes from breathing.
Most people tend to take shallow breaths from the mouth.  Yoga teaches us to breath in through the nose, and out through the nose.  Not only does this purify the air, but it helps us to take deeper, more meaningful inhalations.
Yoga teaches us to not take breathing for granted and to make each breath count.

Now besides from the obvious help that breathing can give us in yoga class {which is taking us deeper into the posture}, focusing on the breath can do wonders to our mind and body outside of the mat.

When they say take yoga off the mat?  Yeah, I believe that.
Do you ever notice when you become stressed, angry, or frightened that your breath becomes heavy and shallow?
Part of the reason our minds become "jumbled" during intense times of our lives is because we stop focusing in the breath.
I have noticed that when I am stressed or mad, a few deep breaths can do wonders to regaining peace into my life.

That's why I believe yoga can change the world.  Something as simple as inhalations and exhalations can change a person's outlook and therefore change their mood. 

That's why yoga means to me.  Continuing to use the breath to bring light into my life and the lives around me.

Since we had discussed last week about adding a "yoga pose" of the week aspect to this blog, I'm going to start here.

This week, I want each and every one of you to join me in making a change.  Whether or not you do yoga, focus on the breath.  Focus on beginning to inhale and exhale through the nose, not the mouth.  Focus on taking a few deep breaths when you are stressed.  And before you yell at someone when you're angry at them, take a few deep breaths.  You never know, the outcome might be different.

And I ask you....
What does yoga mean to you?

1 comment:

i'd love for you to say hi! i normally try to reply to your comment here! xo