Yoga Guru of the Astanga Lineage is often quoted as having said that a person has only mastered a pose, when that individual is able to breathe freely and easily within that pose – i.e. when the inhalations and the exhalations are of equal length and quality throughout.
For the past week, I have been wondering about the applicability of this statement to our lives. That is, could our “mastery” of an often recurring situation, relationship, experience, event, or thought stand in for the pose and can our mental equanimity be akin to our breath in such moments? Many of us, myself especially, can find ourselves constantly attempting to move forward in life. The present moment, and all its continual challenges and areas of growth, can sometimes be seen as nothing more than an obstacle to be forcibly overcome to get where it is that we want to go, feel we deserve to go. But what if instead of viewing the present moment as an obstacle, we viewed it as a teacher? What if each moment, and specifically how we relate to the moment, was akin to how we relate to a challenging asana practice? What if we stopped in the moment of “crisis” (CHANGE) and examined our breath and attempted to bring balance to our breath before we acted, reacted, or responded? What might the change in our current life situations be?
The question I have for you, the one I am working to answer for myself is thus: How is my breath in this moment, and this moment, and this moment? Can I allow myself to not get swept up in where I want to go or what I want to avoid in order and just be here now, with myself, my breath, and my connection to the universal and divine knowing?
Writer Patia Braitwaite has said, “The way forward [the future if you will] will find you if you keep breathing.” This is true not only in our asana practice, but also perhaps more importantly in our lives. So let’s just keep breathing and noticing our breath.