Life is movement. We are in perpetual motion. The art is moving thru life skillfully & mindfully. As an athlete, professional or individual, you will improve skill sets and become more internally powerful over the part of your mind that is your saboteur when you breathe deeply to live mindfully.
Yoga, or mindful movements, has both a mental & physical component which is balanced by skillful respiration techniques. We discipline ourselves to move by linking breath with movement. If we lose the relationship with our breath, we lose the connection with our body. When in the posture (asana), it’s about balancing the discomfort of the moment by “yoking” the body with the mind. This is also done through our breath.
Let’s use this squat as our example and metaphor. Anyone who’s done a squat realizes the intensity this posture can bring to us physically. Here’s the thing, the intensity of the posture is really driven by the mind. It’s the mind relaying messages to you about pain, discomfort, your ability to handle it, how you should handle it (maybe with force), backing out because it feels to hard and so much more. The mind becomes a run-on sentence. And, the deeper you go into the squat, the louder that voice speaks to us.
If we stay focused on our thoughts, emotions rise and physical discomfort seems to intensify. We lose our breath and a sympathetic response ensues. The body/mind connection is compromised and we’re only living in the mind reacting to its’ every whim. When this happens in the posture, we often force ourselves to stay in the posture as we tangle with the ego OR we back out of the posture. This is not being in the present moment. At this point, the mind mostly likely has us somewhere in the past. The way to live mindfully in these moments is to breathe deeply.
The same thing happens in life. We experience an unpleasant moment, we get lost in the thoughts and emotions triggered by the moment, we lose our relationship with the breath which then diminishes our connection to the body. Typically, our reactions don’t support our most authentic sense of self. On the heels of this, either “I’m sorry” follows to someone we took our reaction out on OR it’s more harmful dialogue with ourselves shaming us for doing whatever we just did in response. Maybe it was eat something unhealthy, drink to excess, isolate ourselves and a host of other behaviors which typically bring harm to the physical body. This happens because we’ve lost the mind/body connection. When these are operating in unity, we cannot bring harm to ourselves or anyone else.
The magic is the connection with your breath. When in this moment, connect with your natural breath first. Then, learn to control the pace, length and depth of your inhale and exhale. Remove your mind from the external environment to the internal environment that is you paying attention only to your breath. Bring the mind to a place to master breathing through the intensity paying attention to deepening your inhale, lengthening your exhale and control the pace with which you do this. Focus on maintaining the unity within that is your body/mind. This is being mindful . . . this is breathing deeply to live mindfully . . . this is the dance between the ego and the authentic self . . . this is YOU BEING GREAT!