2021 Yoga Community

Breath: a fantastic and exciting theme and the title of Yoga With Adriene’s 30 days of yoga programme. I’m tempted to research and write about anatomy and the science of breathing, pranayama (yogic breathing practices) and my own experience of breath in my meditation and yoga practices. But to keep it short:

  • starting and ending our practice, and coming back to our breath through our days gives us an opportunity to check in with ourselves; to bypass the thinking mind when we ask ‘how am I?’ and actually feel how we are. The sensation of our breath moving in our bodies is honest and with practice, can tell us where we are physically and emotionally without narrative;
  • our breath is the bridge to our autonomic nervous system – we can control its rate and depth and help to shift from ‘fight-or-flight’ mode to ‘rest-and-digest’ lowering stress and producing the feeling of calm (read more from Andrew McGonigle, my anatomy teacher here); and
  • in vinyasa yoga, the breath is our metronome of our practice.

Breath is also my starting place when I teach beginner yoga courses (and all my classes); it is a fundamental of the practices. A ‘back to basics’ mindset feels useful at this time of year, and particularly this year. When confronted with adversity, fear, anxiety and overwhelm, my approach is generally to pause, feel my feet on the ground, take a steadying breath and look to the next essential step to take.

Categories: 2021 Yoga Community