My first memory in yoga school at Himalayan Yoga Academy in Rishikesh, India was our well known yoga instructor Ashish's wise words. After tuning in, he immediately took us into Tadasana, mountain pose, which is one of the most simplest and yet challenging standing poses. As he walked around giving us a grim nonverbal assessment, he asks the question, "What is yoga?" Everyone gave the typical answer, "Yoga is union" or "yoga is bringing balance to the masculine and feminine", etc. etc. etc. Not being satisfied with any of our answers, he finally states clearly and confidently, "yoga is space".
Fast forward two years, I'm sitting in my meditation wondering how I can tap more into feeling my body, I begin to bring my focus on my breath. Inhaling slowly, sustaining the breath, exhaling fully. The longer I go, the more I began to feel sensations in my body, the more I became aware of tension in places I hadn't even realized.
I remember Ashish's words and began to focus on how the breath creates space inside myself, how every time I inhale, my diaphragm lowers creating more space for my lungs to expand, as with each exhale, the contraction is a precursor to creating that space. My greatest challenge has been finding space for myself in my relationship, especially considering I work side by side with my partner. Knowing that I am in a situation that I cannot change, I find the breath a highly effective tool when used. When used is the key to it being effective. As I create space within myself, I am making room for patience, love, compassion, courage, understanding, trust, gratitude and acceptance. I create a home for all of these things to live, and it's something as simple as the breath that opens up this space.
What's the challenge? Take on a 7, 21, or 90 day pranayama practice...even if it's just 3 minutes a day and see how you feel! One of my favorite breathing techniques is the alternate nostril breathing. Instructions can be found at https://www.3ho.org/files/pdfs/alternate-nostril-breathing.pdf
About the writer:
Marisa loves hoop dancing, riding her bicycle, playing, hosting gatherings, doing yoga, kung fu-ing, traveling, meeting people, eating, and savoring dark chocolate covered strawberries and coconut ice cream. She strives to be fully present, compassionate, and act and connect from a place of love.