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Just Breathe

Most of us pay little attention to our breathing, unless of course we have a breathing challenge, are a yogi, an athlete or a meditator. Yet it is probably the one tool for survival we carry around with us all the time. But it's not just for surviving. . .it's for THRIVING!

Yes Thriving!!! Focus on the breath -- both the rhythm, the depth, and all the sensations of it -- are things we can control to our advantage in dealing with people and situations. Have you ever wished you had paused to take a deep breathe before you reacted? How often have you fired back at someone with words you later regretted? Sometimes these responses have resulted in lost friendships, wounded hearts, lost jobs, a traffic ticket, and the list goes on and on.

What would have changed if we had just paused, spent a time-out in deep breathing, and then 'responded' instead of 'reacted'?

What I have found recently is that social media and opportunities for replying in writing (texting and emailing) have actually saved me!! Sitting back and journaling a bit after meditation before I pick up the phone or meet someone eyeball-to-eyeball for an uncomfortable conversation, has saved me a friendship, unpleasant moments, not to mention my own sanity and peace of mind.

And, by the way, being able to write my responses or have my time-out before a meeting, also allows my ego-center, angry self to exist outside of witness by others and thereby causing no harm. Plus, I have the opportunity to have my tantrum, release and let go of the narrow-minded thinking, and choose a healthier path for myself.

So whether you're inclined to scream obscenities at the driver who just cut you off (even though he can't hear you); scream at your kids (and wonder why they scream back at you!); get really agitated while waiting online at the grocery store; or are dealing with a lot of anger, depression, frustration and disappointment (and you will at some point, you're human), learn the find art of pranayama (breath control). I not only begin teaching every yoga class with some breathing exercise, but use it personally in my daily practice.

In the words of Alexi Murdoch in his song "Breathe" . . .

"And the answer that you're seeking For the question that you found Drives you further to confusion As you lose your sense of ground

So don't forget to breathe Don't forget to breathe Your whole life is here No eleventh hour reprieve So don't forget to breathe

Keep your head above water But don't forget to breathe"

Need a phrase or mantra to accompany you into this new year. . ."Just Breathe".

In love and appreciation for 'the guru in you'. . .Kathy

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