Back to Basics – Follow Your Breath

And see where it leads

“The one thing I want you to take away from my class is these three words: ‘Follow your breath’.”

Every moment we are on this planet, we breathe, whether or not we are paying attention.

Sometimes our breath comes without having to think about it, our bodies do it for us while we sleep, we breathe more heavily when we exert ourselves, we hold our breath when we are frightened or stressed, and our breath can be stolen in pure moments of the heart.

But to¬†follow¬†our breath is something of an awareness. It’s to allow the breath to guide us and lead us on a journey. Sometimes when we allow the breath to guide us, and not the other way around, we end up in places we never expected.

During yesterday’s class there was barely a hand space between each mat, so we got really cozy with one another. Our major instruction to was to follow the breath, and with so many of us flowing so closely together, it was as if we were part of one united breath that emanated the entire room. Our ujjayi breathing, the only constant, tying each individual soul together as one.

My neighbor and I found a common rhythm, and I noticed her breathing patterns staying in pace with mine. We were experiencing similar pain, similar releases, and all the while, we followed our own breath as much as each other’s.

This was the first time during my daily yoga practice that I was able to fully clear my mind and open up to a greater peace since I had something else to focus on rather than my monkey mind thoughts.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Even in times where my body held on to the breath, I was still following what it told me: release this stress.

And release I did.

There were moments of ease, and moments of pain, and for the first time in a long time, I took each sensation in stride. I allowed myself to breathe into the places where I tensed up, and followed the breath through till the end of those poses. I exhaled with relief when we surrendered into child’s pose, and came back to each breath as instructed whenever I felt lost or unmindful of my physical and mental body.

But by the end of class, something inside of me had shifted. I felt a surge of energy build up from deep within, and I recognized the demons of old patterns bubbling up to the surface to greet me. I could not escape, cease, or ignore them as I had done so often in the past. This time, I was ready to face them.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Fears hold us back from ever truly taking charge in our lives. They keep us from moving forward, or in this case, through. For whatever reason these demons came to visit, I had to follow my breath because it surely led me here to this place of discomfort and unease, and defeat them once and for all.

And like those moments of pain and release during class, I continued to watch where my breath took me as I worked out the details of my inner insecurities. Again, for the first time in a long time, I was able to take these sensations in stride and not let the weight of them burden my physical body, as I had done so often in the past.

Instead this time, I let go of trying to control the situation and just allowed myself to be taken by the intention of my breath.

And together, we moved through.

Just breathe

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