I'll never forget the process of my yoga teacher training in India. My guru was an older Indian man, rather stern in demeanor. Each day we practiced upwards of 6 hours of asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing). His style was simple, "the oldest, most traditional form of yoga there is." He didn't buy into this new-age fancy, lululemon yoga stuff that everyone and their grandmother is doing. To him it was quite simple, you follow through a simple series of poses, followed by deep relaxation, then a long range of breathing exercises. The breathing exercises were his greatest effort and in his opinion, the most critical piece of the puzzle. He put it quite simply, through the breathing exercises you will become more intuitive and gain control over your whole life... quite a promise. I went with it, his passion for his work was so impressive that I partially believed him, but partially also assumed that his guarantee came from enthusiasm for the practice.
Well thirty days came and went, as well as more than 200 hours worth of rigorous training and studying and the change was nothing short of astounding. My upper respiratory system was stronger than it had ever been, I had had some very intuitive experiences and I felt like I could transcend just about anything thrown at me. Crazy, right?
But let me break it down for you. When you breathe, or practice breathing exercises, you are drawing all of your awareness and attention into your breath. Breathing is something we can only do in the present moment, so through this focus on breath you become incredible present and highly aware of everything that you are experiencing physically, mentally emotionally. It is through this awareness and breath that you can gain control over these experiences, because in that present moment you are able to slow yourself down enough that you can better control your reactions. It is quite well known that breathing calms you down, it's for the same reasons as mentioned. So if you perfect your breath through exercises, then you can...
Breathing does all of this, but in order to get to this place you must practice breathing exercises. It's incredible the range of physical, emotional and mental sensations that come up when you go through a breathing exercise for several minutes. When you are manipulating your breath, both the mind and the body react, muscles tense, anxieties pop up and with practice you eventually experience these things but are able to keep moving with that breath. The breath brings up these experiences, but in the breath is also the tool to overcoming them. In moving through these exercises you eventually can bring this tool into your life, overcoming intense situations as they arise. When you learn to control your breath, you can learn to control your reactions to the physical and mental battles around you.
Don't believe me? Try it. Just like my guru, I absolutely guarantee that they will change your life.
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Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.