Off The Mat: Part III • Breathe

Breath is something we don’t often think of. It’s just breath. It happens with no necessary conscious intervention. Let’s stop and think about something for a second. What happens to you when you’re tired? Do you feel any changes in your breath? What happens when you’re mad or angry? Do you feel breathless? Do you pant? What happens when you cry? When you’re anxious? When you’re afraid? What about when you’re calm? When you’re happy?

Every state we go through causes a certain change in our breath. Again, with no necessary conscious intervention. With every state, our breath automatically changes and affects us physically as well as play an active role in how we’re emotionally feeling. Now, what if we can control our breath? What if we become so aware of it and bring it to our consciousness? Would we then be able to turn the process around and actually control our state?

“Breeeathe,” “Take a deep breath,” are things we often hear when someone is trying to calm us down. Sometimes we even tell it to ourselves. A part of us already believes the power our breath has on our state. Let’s get our whole being on board then. When I control my breath, I’m in control; not the situation I’m in, I am.

Becoming aware of our breathing, learning to breathe fully, learning to use our breath to its full potential are all things you learn as you practice yoga. When you’re in a twisted pose and your teacher tells you to keep breathing, and it’s difficult but you do. And it somehow gets easier. When you’re practicing a flow for an hour and you’re following your breath throughout and it helps take you through the flow. When you lose your balance in a pose and you take a breath and get back into it. Take the breath with you off the mat. When you’re in a difficult position or situation in life, keep breathing, focus on your breath and take control of the situation.

If you don’t practice yoga, you should! But also, you can still get to know your breath regardless. Start by observing it, especially when you’re calm and feeling well. Notice how slow you’re breathing, how fully. Always observe first, then start taking control of it. See how you can consciously breathe that same way you breathe when you’re calm and happy. The more you observe and learn it, the easier you’ll be able to reach out to it and consciously do it in the situations you need it.

Our bodies are magnificent tools and our organs are incredible workers. They already do so much for us but you can always unlock new potential when you start becoming more aware of them. Always explore, inside out! And of course, breathe :)