I have to admit, before my vacation up north I was suffering from some anxiety. It is human to be anxious, get a little flustered, maybe even angry or upset, discouraged or frustrated. All of these emotions, we all have them. The best advice people typically give in this case is, “Take a Deep Breath”. Have you ever given that advice a real chance? There is no shame in actually taking the time to breathe and reflect.
It is easy to let our thoughts and emotions take control of our energy and output into the world. It happens to us all. We also let the stress our body is in dictate our emotions and behaviors. When our body is feeling uneasy and put in discomfort, our breath, energy, life-force is challenged to stay calm. Also, as our breath is challenged our bodies are required to stay composed and graceful.
As a yoga teacher, I frequent words like ‘inhale’, ‘exhale’, ‘take a deep breath’, ‘open mouth exhale, let it go’. Sometimes I even say at the beginning of class that the time that we spend together is linking conscious breathing to conscious movement. Controlling our breath in order to gracefully move our bodies and stay calm by using our breathing technique, ‘Pranayama’.
I took my own advice… I took a deep breath and I feel free. For seven days I didn’t teach or work, I was phone free, screen free and had room to breathe deeply. Try it, count to five as you inhale and count to five as you exhale… close your eyes, breathe in and out through your nose, exhale about 10 times and after you are done… share with me how you feel.
Additional Reading & Video
A Short Film: “Just Breathe” by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavercrest Films)
In this 4-minute long film Julie Bayer Salzman and Josh Salzman spoke to several young boys and girls about how their emotions affect them and how they physically feel. The duo show how mindful breathing practice is helping kids become emotionally healthy.
The Science of Pranayama by Sri Swami Sivananda // A Divine Life Society Publication
“The energy in the body is Prana. By controlling the motion of the lungs or respiratory organs, we can control the Prana that is vibrating inside. By control of Prana, the mind can be easily controlled, because the mind is fastened to the Prana, like the bird to the string. Just as the bird that is tied to a post by a string, after flying here and there, finds its resting place in the post, so also this mind-bird after running hither and thither, in various sensual objects, finds its resting place during deep sleep in the Prana.” -Definition of Pranayama in the Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali (Chapter Three, The Science of Pranayama by Sri Swami Sivananda)
Take a Deep Breath, Harvard Mental Health Letter // Harvard Health Publications
“The ability to breathe so deeply and powerfully is not limited to a select few. This skill is inborn but often lies dormant. Reawakening it allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms. Why does breathing deeply seem unnatural to many of us?”