Importance of Breath

Pranayama (breath control/exercises) is focused on in most hatha yoga classes, but attentions on breathing exercises alone are rare. The more I study about yoga and Vedic techniques for emotional health, the more evident it has become that Pranayama is crucial. As stated by Swami Ajaya, in Healing the Whole Person-Applications of Yoga Psychotherapy, “Breath is the vehicle that links all facets of one’s functioning; breathing, posture, and thinking are interrelated, and they influence one another. In yoga psychology, the breath is a tool for regulating all of one’s emotional and mental states, and even the way in which one behaves.”

Elementary studies of the breath can have dramatic effects.  Begin to notice your natural ‘style’ of breathing. Is your breath shallow/deep, smooth/catchy, constant/intermittent? Any subtleties that you can make note of will help you deepen your awareness. As you become more familiar with your personalized breath you can begin to observe how your breath changes throughout the day and in response to varying activities and different emotional states.

What do you do with all the above information?  Well, the great news is that once you are more aware of the interaction between your consciousness and your breath, you can begin to have more control over your experience of life. In the next couple of blogs I plan to discuss the specific ways that breath can play a powerful role in your level of happiness.

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Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Eleanor Roosevelt

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.  To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others use your heart.  Anger is only one letter short of danger.  If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; if he betrays you twice, it is your fault.  Beautiful people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.  Learn from the mistakes of others, you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift…that is way they call it the present.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

So many wise words from one women. Pick what you like, write it down, spread it around and add some more. Have a great day. Namaste

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Alaska Sunshine & Yoga

I taught my first yoga class yesterday in Wrangell, Alaska.  It was an absolute joy. Nine students showed up and I believe most left feeling better than when they came….my measure for a successful class. A local woman, Victoria Martin, loaned us the props and it was held at the local gym. All went smoothly and I was blessed with smiles and new friends.

I also want to send out my gratitude to whoever ordered the sunshine and 70 degree weather. The beautiful weather has followed us from Idaho, through Washington and all the way to Alaska! Talk to you all again soon. Hope my fellow Idaho yogis are learning tons from Julian Walker.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm  Comments (2)  
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Jungle Gym

Sunday July 25, 2010 (high-noon)

Sitting on the ferry in Ketchikan, next stop is Wrangell.  Yesterday I saw my first whale in the wild. It back-flipped eight times before it was out of sight. Later we spotted a seal, but mostly I have to admit we have been sleeping, eating and reading.  Basically we have been doing as little as possible. I did discover some really nice yoga poses using the railings or pipes that are all over the ship. Find ways to incorporate your home or office environment. Try looking at the world around you like a jungle gym and before you know it the little kid in you will begin to bubble to the surface. (Beware … spouses will become embarrassed if you start climbing up, hanging from, balancing on and twisting around everything in sight…best of luck getting them to join you, but it is worth a try!)

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Home & Signs

Stu and I are traveling to his home town and latter to see friends I haven’t seen in 18 years.  After only leaving two days ago I have already begun to appreciate more the home we have made together.  No matter how many times we learn this lesson, it always takes being away from what we have to really appreciate it. Yes, you guessed it, I already miss my doggies and kitties and my yoga class. We board the ferry today and head north to Alaska.  I know soon I will get drawn into the scenery and trust that everyone will be wagging their tails upon our return.

In the car we listened to a book on CD, Eckhart Tolle’s The New Earth. Lots of great stuff, I will have to listen to it multiple times and meditate on it.  Eckhart and a friend were hiking in California when they came across a sign that read, “Caution all structures are unstable”.  How zen of the US Forest Service 😉 About five minutes later a large semi went rolling past us….written in the dirt on the back of the truck was the following appropriate text, “You are not your past”. How great is that? Keep your eyes peeled for signs out in the world that are poetic or have philosophic appeal. I would love to hear about them or even better see a picture.

Mama & Papa

Stu and I just dropped the dogs off at my parents house.  Now we head for the coast! I am excited to be starting a fun adventure, but wish I had more time to visit with my P’s. They live six hours away and when I was young they couldn’t be far enough away 🙂  I think all of us can relate to that feeling at one time or another, but the older I get the closer I wish they were. Value and nurture your family relationships. It may be the hardest thing you ever do, but every effort will reap unimaginable benefits. Missing you all and planning to share as often as possible throughout our 25 day adventure. Alaska here we come!

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Off Topic

Ok, I know this is a bit off our usual topic, but I need to say something……

“Boise State Financial Aid Office now has a Facebook page!  Students can become a fan of   Boise State Financial Aid   and receive the same updates through your Facebook account.   Students/parents/spouses may choose this option.”

Does anyone else think this is strange?

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Boldness

I have had several requests to post the reading that I used for my Sunday morning class this week:

“Whatever you can do, or think you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” ~Goethe

We do not have to be perfectly certain before acting. We do not have to feel perfectly confident about the outcome of our behavior. In fact, more times than not when we see people acting with what seems to be supreme confidence, it may indeed be an act. Which doesn’t matter. What matters is that inertia was overcome.

In overcoming life’s challenges there will surely be many times when we encounter situations where our thoughts and actions fill us with anything but confidence. Regardless of our uncertainty we need to act boldly, and we need to trust our judgement. Boldness does have genius in it, and magic-the magic of proving to ourselves that we can do what is needed when the time is right. When that is possible, the whole world is within our grasp. (Hazelden Meditations: Days of Healing, Days of Joy)

From the above reading I wrote the below mantra:

If I act boldly, listening to my inner intelligence, the world will open up and embrace me.

Shanti Yoga

This weekend I spent time with the Shanti Yoga School group.  I was reminded how inspiring it can be to spend time with a roomful of yoga teachers who are all excited about spreading the good messages of yoga to the world. Yoga may be my passion, but fellow yogis are the fuel that keep the fires burning.  I send my gratitude out to you all.

Namaste

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 1:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Temporary Turbulance

Anger, grief, saddness…darkness seems to creep in slowly and unnoticed until it breaches the dam and sweeps over me like murky flood waters…what to do? Instinctively I want to struggle, but experience has proven that will only drag me deeper under.

What about trying something new? Let the emotions wash over me and take long deep breaths as I surface…allowing the calm smoothness of my body feel the pain and then release it. Without the rigidity and struggle the swift current delivers me safely to higher ground.

How many look at the temporary nature of existence as a life-preserver?

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 6:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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