This month, we delve more into why breath is so vital – not just on the mat.
Modern life usually equates to busyness and as we get to the core of it, we become tense and fixed mentally and physically. Our time on the mat, moving the body through asana practice breaks the mould or patterns we shape ourselves in.
Awareness of breath and conscious breathing fuels the practice, transforming it from a usual exercise routine into a powerful tool for the mind, body, and spirit. It moves the energy and helps the body ease into postures. With controlled, deep breaths we tune in to what arises emotionally and feel the sensations in our bodies. Breathing deeply in yoga helps avoid injury.
Breathing consciously is the essence of yoga as it assists us in connecting with the subtle energy within. The breath is our barometer, our guide through the levels of consciousness.
Controlled breath grounds us to the present moment, releasing our hold on the past and our expectations of the future. It activates the more evolved parts of our brain in the cerebral cortex which has a relaxing and balancing effect on emotions. Controlling the breath nurtures this part of the brain, eventually making it more dominant over its primal counterpart (medulla oblongata).
In essence, by consciously breathing, we become less reactive, more connected with our true selves, and not a slave to the fluctuations of the mind. We become sharper and more focused as we experience a stillness in the mind.