The breath slows us down. When you consider how much the rest of the world seems to want us all to speed up, the breath suddenly seems like a really wise friend.
Take a breath.
Try one more.
Now, be honest with yourself. Did you do it? Did you even try?
If you played along with the breathing above, I’ll bet you feel different now than you did when you started reading.
If you just can’t be a player right now (there’s still time), you probably feel mildly (very) tense, and you’re attention is split between dinner, your phone, and a voice in your head wondering about breathing.
In other words, if you took those breaths, the chances are pretty high that you’re less distracted now than you were just a moment before. And if you didn’t, you’re as antsy as ever.
And right there is one of the greatest open secrets of living our human life.
Find your breath. Feel your breath. Discover a conscious moment.
There’s an inhale, a pause, an exhale, another pause. There’s a sound and it’s different between inhale and exhale. Our nostrils receive and release the breath differently at different times of the day. We expand and contract as every breath comes and goes.
But wait. There’s more.
As we follow the breath, our manner of living becomes entirely new. And this is where we can head together.
With every attentive breath, we slow down. We pay attention. Our focus becomes stronger. We not only hear the breath but we hear our body and our mind responding to it. We realize that every breath is a gift. It delivers our primary fuel and a connection with every living creature and those who’ve passed.
We all ride on the breath. We’re all being breathed.
But what do you know about your breath? At this moment, do you know whether you’re breathing through your nose or your mouth? Do you know if your breath is deep or shallow? Can you identify which nostril is open?
Some even say this: “I didn’t even know I was breathing.”
Even though the breath cycles through us about 20,000 times per day, and we’ve been breathing since the moment we arrived in this world, we often don’t pay a dime of attention to it.
And no one really asks us to try.
Until you find yoga.
Take a moment to breathe now. Give it a go. Set a timer for three minutes and simply watch the breath. I promise you’ll find something to appreciate when you do.