How many times have you heard “Take a deep breath” to diffuse a tense or angry situation? Have you ever had something “take your breath away”? These changes in our breathing or measures of energy often referred to as prana or chi, are what connect the body and mind. It is the mind/body connection that we are all seeking in our yoga practice. Breathing properly can keep us healthy in body and spirit, nourishing every cell in our body.
Stress Is Taking Your Breath Away
When we are stressed to the max, and don’t take time to unplug or really relax, our breath can be short and half-hearted. We know it is right to breathe deeply but it isn’t always easy to do when you are busy. It is difficult to step away from your routine. Taking a break or a vacation (especiall in the American and Asian society) is often viewed as a luxury not a necessity. People in other regions have long discovered the benefit of taking longer breaks from work. In many European countries, taking of a full month off from work is fairly commong and allows people to return refreshed and ready to get back at it. A vacation helps restore the energy lost, the balance we seek and the enthusiasm for the everyday of our lives. It's like taking a deep breath.
So Much To Do – No Time To Breathe
What I realized a few months ago was that breathing wasn’t coming easily to me. I’d find myself out of breath during a yoga class. My breath felt stuck. It was hard for me find the rhythm of my breath as I moved through the asanas. The walks with my dog or my biking wasn’t giving me enough of a break in my routine to allow me to breathe fully and deeply. I joke that my computer and I have an intimate relationship…we live together constantly. I had to actually laugh at one of the Facebook posts I chose last week about the need to “unplug”. It was time to take my own advice. So I took a big deep inhale, let out a sigh and decided it was time to catch my breath.
Recharing Your Breath Means Disconnecting
How did I find my breath? I took a vacation and went to the beach. Just coming down from the 9000 feet at which I live to sea level, began to make the difference. The air was moister, thicker and warmer in my lungs. I took it in in great big gulps and it was delicious. I rested, read, did some yoga, walked on the beach and spent time with people I love. This worked for me. After only a few days, I was able to relax. I began to breathe deeply again. I felt my balance begin to return, the balance in my body and in my life. Thoughts became clearer, my body became looser and after several days, I was ready to take on the challenges of life again. My mind and body began to connect again and the quality of my life returned.
Even if you can’t head to a beach or if the beach isn’t the answer for you, take time to figure out what you need to keep your breath deep and full. Nurture your body and your mind. It will lead to a happier, healthier and more productive self. Just take a break. I think you will find that it will be worth it.