You know yoga is deeply embedded in your mind when you mishear Bob Marley’s lyrics “Jah provide the bread” as “kapalbhati breath.” It may be time to take a break. Or write a post about breathing, let’s go with that!
This will seem like an odd tangent, but stay with me. Jaden and Willow Smith recently gave one of the strangest interviews ever to The New York Times Style Magazine. In it, they talk about time, fashion and mainstream school (which they CLEARLY should be attending). But they also discuss breathing with a specific focus on prana energy. These kids must take a LOT of yoga classes. Will expounds that “Breathing is meditation; life is a meditation. You have to breathe in order to live, so breathing is how you get in touch with the sacred space of your heart.” I also think they may have watched Akira one to many times.
As wacky as their interview was, what they said about breath is true. Of all the things that yoga will change about you, perhaps the most important change is in how you breathe. When I am having a hard time at work, or for any reason, I can pause for a minute and take a truly deep breath and calm myself. I find that closing my mouth helps with the deepening of the breath, as well as sitting or standing with a straight spine – which allows more air to come in to the lungs.
My children still breathe with their bellies – I love those baby bellies. Without the tension of the adult world, they are breathing as we were meant to breathe. Adults take shallow breaths, using only one third of our lungs. Breathing deeper increases circulation to the entire body. It wakes you, centers you and helps you focus and concentrate. It’s strange how often we hold our breath – for something that is instinctual, that the body needs to survive, we deprive ourselves all too frequently.
My problem now is that I bring my pranayama breathing from Bikram to my Vinyasa practice. Pranayama is way to slow for the flow of Vinyasa. I need to work on breathing deeply when extending it out to six counts and also when transitioning from up-dog to downward facing dog – I need to learn that a deep breath doesn’t always need to be a long breath. I often find myself still breathing out when I should be breathing in. And I know from practice that the rhythm of the breath is so helpful in the flow of Vinyasa. Always more things to learn, to work on. A never ending journey, this yoga.
Happy Thursday! Namaste!
#tbt to my daughter, four years ago to the day. Questioning the parenting skills of Will and Jada Smith. I’m right there with you, baby J.