“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” ~Stephen Covey
That space…is BREATH. Placing just one long, slow, deep breath between action and reaction gives you the freedom to respond in the way you choose.
So here’s a little secret. When I invite you to try a yoga class, I am really inviting you to a breathing class…with a side of movement. At the end of the day, it’s really the deep, focused breathing that offers so many benefits. Calm mind, relaxed body, open spaces, flexibility, balance, better responses in life. Breath is the thread to all of it.
It might seem strange because don’t we breathe all the time? Yes, but we don’t breathe WELL. Most of us typically breathe into the top one-third of our lungs. Breathing into the deep lobes of the lungs provides our body with adequate oxygen, and gives us the Parasympathetic (relaxation) response that deep breaths provide.
I would like to offer you a simple breath practice that you can do anytime, anywhere. Standing in line at the grocery store. Driving in traffic. Hugging your child. Watching a sunset. I call it Equal Even breath.
Softly close your lips. Keep your eyes open. Breathe in through your nose for three counts. Breathe out for three counts. You could use four, five or six counts, just keep the inhale equal to the exhale. Equal in time, equal in volume. See if you can “smooth out the edges of breath”. Blurring the line between the in breath and the out breath. Just a few of the Equal Even breaths has a tremendous effect on your nervous system, and mental clarity.
Now, add some gentle movements to this breathing, and you are doing yoga!