The Powerful Breath


The Yoga teacher was stressed out.

Friday night I found myself in a bit of a tizzy as I was driving to work. I noticed I was feeling pretty tense, stressed out, and it wasn’t at all what I was wanting to feel as I was heading to teach a yoga class. Then I remembered the nine part breath which involves alternate nostril breathing with visualizations, and I gave it a go.

The Nine Part Breath

The first three breaths, you visualize breathing in light into your body through the right nostril, and through the left you exhale any attachment or desire toward any specific person, place, thing, event, outcome, experience, mental or emotional state.

The second set of three breaths, you breathe light into your body through the left nostril, and through the right you exhale anger, resentment, and frustration.

The last set of three breaths, you inhale light into your body through both nostrils, and exhale through both again, letting go of greed, pride, confusion, guilt, pain, shame, regret, procrastination, hesitation, feelings of insecurity, the need to compare yourself with others, any insecurities, etc., basically anything you can let go of to make more room for your authentic self to shine.

Relaxing into being

I realized just part way into the second set of breaths that I was feeling expansive, light, calm, deeply focused…and grateful. My attention had completely shifted, and I was no longer focusing on the traffic but instead was noticing the tingle of aliveness in my body, the relief of a full breath in and a complete breath out.

And this is why I teach yoga.

It was another epiphanic moment. Yes, I told myself, this is why I teach. Because I can feel in the very core of myself that I have everything I need to be happy, to be peaceful, to help and to heal in this moment, and I want to share what I know with others so that I can assist them in awakening to their happiness, peace, generosity, caring. To watch myself shift from a stressed out tension ball to someone who could feel joy and gratitude coursing through her–and just in a matter of minutes–it felt so empowering! I chose to relax. I chose to breathe. And I’m so glad I did.

You try it!

The power is in your hands.  Next time you become aware of unnecessary tension in your body or stressful thoughts in your mind, just try some very slow, deep breaths; you don’t have to do any fancy alternate nostril breathing if you don’t feel like it. Simply try to direct your awareness from whatever problem or challenge you are experiencing, and instead become exquisitely aware of what you’re feeling in your body as you breathe in and out. It’s an incredible gift to yourself to reclaim the mental energy you were sending into the past and into the future so that you can enjoy life fully right now.  It’s  wonderful to recognize and tap into your inherent wholeness in this moment–just your presence will inspire others to awaken to their source of inner peace.

So go get ’em tigers!  Go out into your lives and breathe mindfully, and shine the light of your awareness into this whole universe.

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