When I attended a yoga teacher training at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in 2001, I couldn’t quite understand all the focus on breathing. While I did find it helpful to breathe more deeply, and pay more attention to my breath, I wondered about the necessity of repeating this instruction over and over. I was mildly suspicious of the promise of spectacular results that could come from a simple breath. At the same time, I was very curious about how my lovely teachers had become such happy and generous people. They seemed to transmit a remarkable sense of inner ease and contentment. So, I took what I had learned, along with my doubt, and I practiced.
After thirteen years and countless conscious breaths, I am beginning to see the point a little more clearly. Great yogis have said that if you want to change the mind you change the breath. It’s really that simple. At this point in my practice, I have indeed found my breath to be a refuge, an anchor, a bridge to bliss, a way out of chaos, and a reminder of my oneness with others and the world. It is a means to soothe my child, a means to soothe myself, and a powerful tool for releasing mental and emotional tensions of all kinds. My breath can be a bridge to gratitude, love, kindness, forgiveness, openness, connection, and healing. It lives in the relationship between me and my children – in the quiet moments, the belly laughs, the tender touches, the holding of space while another cries and cries. My breath can soothe or energize me, and it can at times help me to bear what needs to be borne. It can transform anger into a force for good. It can bring me into the present moment, ready to open to whatever is coming my way. All of that and more.
So now I remind students often to pay attention to their breath, and I enjoy speaking of the possibility of spectacular results!
Join Anita Stoll or Jana Bodeman in one of our Austin Big Heart Yoga fall classes:
Monday, September 1 at 1:00 p.m. Hatha yoga, chanting, and meditation with Anita. Austin Free Day of Yoga.
Beginning September 16, Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. or 10:45 a.m. Meditation for Mothers with Anita.
Beginning September 10. Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. Hatha Yoga and Meditation with Jana.
Beginning September 12. Fridays at 9:30 a.m. Hatha Yoga and Meditation with Jana.
Beginning September 12. Fridays at 11:00 a.m. Guru Gita practice with Jana.