“Sometimes you don’t realise the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.” - Unknown
To be in a state of wellbeing, one needs to find equal amounts of effort and release. It’s about putting in the effort and at the same time, releasing and letting go of the outcome you expected. Thoughts will come up for you, some favourable, some not. Both are OK and are all part of the process to healthier habits, wellbeing and happiness.
A great way to practice ‘release’ is through breathwork, or what yogis like to call, pranayama (say that 3 times fast). Through pranayama (which literally translates to “life force” “control”), we find ourselves completely committed to the present moment. This is where the balance of effort and ease resides.
The good news, we breathe without effort, and are in fact unaware of it most of the time. But in yoga, breath becomes the main focus. One of the reasons is very simple: when you focus on the breath, it’s impossible to focus on anything else. Your thoughts must focus on the breath. So there actually becomes a meditative effort to turn your thoughts to your breath. For most people, turning your thoughts to your breath over and over again.
Have you ever told a child to count to 10, or have someone remind you to take 3 deep breaths? This isn’t on accident. Focusing on our breath calms our nerves, relieves anxiety and energetically connects us to feelings of relaxation. Take a moment to imagine your To Do list. Does your breath speed up, or get shallow? Our stress, fear and anger all trigger irregularities in the breath. It puts strain on our bodies and ultimately can lead to medical issues we want to avoid. The good news, learning breathing techniques can actually lead to stress resilience!
So, let’s try something new. Let’s breathe. No, really. Try it anytime, anywhere. Right now!
Find a comfortable place to sit (hopefully where you are right now, reading this), put your phone on silent, set the timer for 3 minutes and close your eyes. Simply breathe through your nose and observe your inhalation and exhalation. Notice, is one longer? Don’t change it, just observe your breath. Pay attention. When your thoughts start to wonder, don’t yell at yourself, just notice and bring your thoughts back to the breath. Even if that happens 20 times in 3 minutes, that’s OK. This is simply about finding balance between effort and ease, and bringing more awareness to the power of your gorgeous breath.
You’ve got this.
If you're unsure of how to start, fret not, get some guidance via our online yoga classes.