The Power of the Breath

What does my yoga instructor mean by “Watch your breath?”

Whether you are new to yoga or you have been practicing for a long time, this article provides a little insight into yoga philosophy and serves as a reminder of the power of the breath.

For a moment, notice how you are breathing right at this moment.

Is your breath quick and shallow, or slow and deep? As you take your awareness to your breath, notice how almost immediately and automatically your breathing slows down.

The state of your breath becomes a window to the current state of your being.

Think of experiences in your day to day life. A certain state of emotions makes the breath stronger or weaker. It is also true that certain breath can make an emotion stronger or weaker. Through controlling our breath, we are able to change our current state.

Bringing our attention to our breath is one of the most accessible ways for us to bring ourselves to the present moment. By coming to the present moment, you can also become aware of your thoughts, emotions and sensations in the body on a deeper level and watch how the energy in your body/mind flows. Thoughts, emotions and physical sensations come and go, but your breath is always there. It is your life force.

Without analysing or judging, simply watch how your breathing is at any moment. This is the practice of yoga – watching. As we watch our breath in this way, our body and mind’s habits slowly start to reveal themselves, and in turn we might become aware of areas in which our body/mind holds unnecessary tension, or where and how we might be limiting ourselves.

“A long and subtle breath leads to health.” – Master Kim

Through dedicated practice, we can comfortably find deep inhalations and exhalations in every posture. Allow yourself time for this practice. Through breathing, we can become new. Our bodies become light, strong and healthy.

Your yoga instructor is guiding you to constantly bring your awareness back to your breath so that you can join him/her in the practice of ‘watching,’ so that whatever is needed in the moment may come up. Perhaps you can let go of some tension you have been holding onto unknowingly, or you can finally break through some limitation – to name only two of infinite possibilities. Just watch.

As you continue your yoga practice with gentle focus on your breath, watching without judgement, new understanding will come up, and you will find yourself completely in the present moment. Well, why is that so important? 

I invite you to continue watching.

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