I’m not an expert on the scientific benefits of proper breathing, but I can be quite certain that my yoga practice has, at the very least, turned me into a curious student of this automatic process.
Automatic until we become inquisitive about the rich relationship we have with this old friend. Meditating on the breath allows for a fierce exploration of the self. Our breath is an intimate connection to the universe within.
I could hear the patter of Sarah’s feet as she walked past us in Child’s Pose. I heard my breath echoing off my mat, as my forehead nestled to the Earth. Jason Crandell’s quote, “Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are,” swirled through my heart as I set my intention.
How does this quote invoke curiosity in your life both on and off of your yoga mat? As a community we continually encourage curiosity as a means of exploration and growth. Curiosity becomes a container for us to participate in some of our most profound work. Without a curious heart how can we touch our experience of living?
We moved with our breath through several rounds of Cat and Cow and then gently pushed back into Down Dog. I could feel my breath marinating with my intention.
The gentle lifting of my diaphragm on the inhale, and the squeezing of my midsection on the exhale brought a fiery energy into my body. This welcomed new sensation allowed for another curious discovery. I felt my breath ushering in the possibility of expansion and I also felt it deeply investing in the hollowness of contraction. I felt my breath fanning the fires of energy within.
Sarah’s next instructions created another point of curiosity. “Tadasana at the top of the mat. And now bring your prayer hands to your brow chakra. I invite you to see from an internal landscape today. Perhaps you tune out the external distractions and focus on your inner sight.”
Sarah’s invitation to tap into our inner sight left me feeling profoundly humble. I closed my eyes throughout much of the practice and felt myself acquainting with my breath in a more kindred fashion. I felt the grace of the inhale and I felt the effort of the exhale. This lifelong companion—-breath—held within its essence of one of my favorite Hafiz quotes, “Stay close to anything that make you glad you are alive.”
I experienced profound gratitude to be awake and alive in my body.
Her words continued to echo with the rise and fall of the chanting OM in the background. Each inhale felt like the roll of an ocean wave out towards the horizon, and each exhale rushed back to meet the shoreline.
As I curiously engaged with my breath I began to discover vortexes of connection. I felt the subtle shifts of movement opening up multiple layers of partnership in my body. My internal landscape began to sparkle with opportunity. I felt the breath begin at my root and travel upwards out through my crown. It was like I had an elevator of awareness running through my mid-line. This was the grooviest elevator I had ever ridden. With my eyes closed I experienced it as a tunnel of pure bright white light.
Sarah gently walked towards her mat as she invited the class to humbly remain connected to our breath. “Breathe in your aliveness—exhale your grace.”
Who are we when we are connected to our breath?
Can we feel our grounded kinship to the Earth?
Can we engage in meaningful relationships?
Can we own our personal power?
Can we expand our heart?
Can we speak words of kindness?
Can we trust our internal sight?
Can we embrace our eternal connection?
Breath is a tantalizing way to tap into the richness of the internal alignment of our lives. Breath is an interior navigation system through which we have access to the marvels of living. It is through repeated inquiry that we become aware of self and how self is expressing.
Notice how the breath expands the opportunities of our lives. Notice how we also use breath to contract and become small. Breath is a messenger that spontaneously invokes our connection. How is your breath informing you of your connections? As Jason Crandall reminds us, “It is through the practice of yoga that we can become even more curious about who we are.”
The curious nature of my breath allowed me to seal in this yummy Sunday morning class with my dear friend Sarah. I will be eternally thankful for her teachings and loving presence in my life.
Breath by breath may we resurface into our lives with profound and curious gratitude!
Author: Sarah Dickey
Apprentice Editor: Leah Wallin/ Editor: Travis May
Image: Author’s Own