I have been continuing on the road to keeping a healthy body to go along with my healthy mind and soul. So, I am eating healthy, learning how to maintain my weight loss, and exercising, by walking several times a week, or exercising indoors, which I will begin with a group of friends at work this week. In addition, I wanted to add some strength training exercises, and since I get bored easily with floor exercises like sit ups, push ups, and the like, I decided to add yoga.
Yoga is something that I have kind of resisted for many years. Not because I have anything against it. Not because I didn’t think it could be beneficial. More because I didn’t want to do it, just to say that I do yoga. I have known so many people that seem to be doing it, going through the motions, but don’t find much meaning in it. I have read and heard that it is a great way to keep our bodies strong, and also a great way to gain focus and clarity. So, I found a DVD and book at the store to begin with it just a bit.
The positions are difficult, I will give you that. Not just because they are a bit awkward at times, but because I need to become more flexible as I improve, so I cannot extend as far as I would like- YET. But, the part that I find most fascinating and compelling in the sequence of yoga is the breathing. It makes such a difference if one is in sync with one’s own breath to go through the yoga moves.
I know that I tend to hold my breath, when I go through exercise, when I go through my day. I hold my breath when I feel tense, when I am focusing on something, when I am distracted or impatient or annoyed. Hence, the more tense that I get, the more that I hold my breath, which makes me even more tense. It really doesn’t do anything to help me get more calm and serene, holding my breath that is. Unless, I am holding and releasing purposely, to cleanse from within. I am trying to be much more aware of my breath, and how I use it to focus and to redirect my energies.
I am coming to have a newfound respect for breath, and for not holding it without intention. Meaning, draw in a breath, deeply, hold it for a few seconds, then push it/let it out fully. It is amazing what that can do for tension in the body. Holding the breath, breathing in a shallow manner, or holding it, letting out a bit, holding it again, just keeps us so pent up within our bodies. And, when our physical bodies are tense, so does our attitude and emotions tense up as a result. One directly affects the other at all times in this system.
It got me thinking about life. Are you going through your daily living, by holding your breath, tense and uptight, not sure of what to do, who to love, where to go? Are you scared of what might be coming next, afraid to breathe a sigh of relief, and to release the tension in your life? I have come to have such a profound appreciation of the focus and perspective that I am gaining. To be aware, in each moment, of my breath and where it is at, and then to use it in a way to let go of all that keeps me stuck, keeps me uptight and holding onto parts of my life that I have no control over, yet keep me tense within my being. I find myself to be releasing more and holding less. It is so freeing.
I know in this world, there will always be situations that frighten, that give pause, that create a situation when I need to be on my guard and alert. But, I want more often then not to approach those moments with more calm resolve, to be ready with an open mind and heart, and not close off because I am too tense to be in the moment. I want to release what is keeping me back, not because it is “cool” to do some yoga moves, but because it holds meaning in my life and helps me to just live a more focused and fulfilled life every single day.
So, stop holding your breath. Let it out, then draw it fully back in. Slowly, methodically, and be aware of how it helps you to let go of all that you store up within. Find in this moment all that will help you to find appreciation for all that you are and all that you have.