I have been doing yoga for over a year now and only recently understood the importance of breath. One of my teachers said at the beginning of class,
“if you are not focusing on your breath, then you are not doing yoga”
It was a simple statement, but somehow the phrasing struck a chord. I always knew breath was important, but spoken about in this way, it was a moment of clarity realizing that much of the time I am not doing yoga! I also realized my time in class is similar to when I meditate. My mind wanders a lot, and the task of coming back to my body and breath at times seems never ending.
WHY THE BREATH?
It’s the thread that connects us to consciousness, awareness, and the present moment. When we disconnect from our breath we enter into the realms of past and future, to monkey mind, to fear, to an ego-driven world that can never be satiated. The breath is real, present, and life-affirming. It’s a simple key that can unlock the chains of distraction that now permeate our world through technology.
But staying connected to the breath takes work. Realizing it’s a thread that passes through everything I do means that when I am not focusing on breath – not only am I not doing yoga – but in many ways I am not doing life! So my practice is to come home to my breath as often as I possibly can. To infuse my day with conscious breath moments and smile every time I do, no matter how challenging life may become.