Just Breathe

We’re ramping up to silly season and things might be starting to feel a bit hectic in your world. Up to this point in the year, barring any major life challenges, you’ve probably managed to adhere to your health promoting routines and stay on a pretty even keel. Over the next few weeks though, as more social events get added to your calendar and festive responsibilities loom, there is a good possibility that some of those things that help you stay grounded could fall by the wayside. Is this a cause for alarm or for gripping more tightly to the schedule, come hell or high-water? Or is this an opportunity to learn to ground yourself in the blink of an eye, no matter what the external circumstances might be?

As yogis and yoginis, we make a regular habit of connecting with our breath and observing our internal state when we’re on the yoga mat. That same act of taking a moment to “check in” is always available to us, even when we’re in the midst of a chaotic situation. The next time your thoughts go into overdrive or the world around you turns upside down, take a moment to notice what’s happening with your breath. Watch it for a few cycles. Feel the inhale bringing fresh energy into your system. Notice the sense of suspension at the top of the inhalation, a feeling of being buoyant and full of life energy. Then ride your exhalation down until you are empty. Feel the momentary stillness before your breath turns itself around again and your next inhalation is given to you. For a few moments, let nothing be more important than the breath you are experiencing in the present moment.

You might find that as you direct your attention inward, that you have the chance to connect with a calmer, quieter, wiser version of yourself. You are more likely to reach that part of yourself that has watched everything you’ve ever done with the same impartial awareness. When you connect with that part of yourself, you create a sense of space and of being fully present in the moment. When you are fully present, you can respond to the circumstances much more creatively and authentically, using all of the experience you have available to you in an instinctive way. Rather than being ruled by your thoughts, your memories, your preconceived notions, your desires or your hopes for the future, you can ground yourself in the present moment. In that way, you give yourself the opportunity to look at your world with fresh eyes and to create the internal state you choose, rather than being ruled by the myriad of external forces you encounter.

~ Kelly Fisher

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