“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.
Enjoyed the breathing exercise and ready for more? You can check out one of our yoga classes offered at every Virgin Active club in Australia. First time? Book in your free tour, and be sure to ask to check out the yoga studio and classes offered!