Breath? Freewill or Fate? Have you ever noticed that you CAN breath? And that if you choose to stop breathing, with your own freewill, you would pass out and your lungs would then breathe you back to life. In fact, our lungs are the ONLY organ in our body that we can govern and yet it can govern itself. Our lungs are like a fancy car with a cruz control button. However, this fancy car’s cruz control button adjusts its self according to its surroundings. Impressive? Completely! So what do we do with this fancy new car? Perhaps take it for a test drive? See how fast it can go from 0-60, downshift to a lower gear and rev up the torque, drive that baby uphill, downhill, fast, slow, and accelerate through sharp turns just to see what this baby handles? YEAH YOU WOULD!
So… why don’t we do this with our lungs? Why don’t we treat this well oiled machine with the respect it deserves and utilize it for all its talents? Perhaps we do? Perhaps you are doing it right now… But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I sure was not. I was not using my engine. Instead I was driving in auto pilot. Sure I was breathing but my breath changed in accordance to what I was doing and how I was feeling. I was a victom to my breath, letting it govern my emotions and my actions. My breath was an automatic response to a physical or psychological situation rather than the other way around. How did I discover this? I’ll bet you know the answer to this?______________YOGA.
I stepped into my first yoga class the summer of 2009. I was 24… yeah you do the math… and devastated. I had graduated form University the year before, at the hight of an American economic recession, careers where no scarce, non-paid basic internships where getting snatched up by PHD graduates and to those who were well versed in Adobe Suite Software. To make matters worse I had just been dumped by a man (boy) who had promised me the moon and then left me high and dry. Two weeks later he finally picked up the phone to say… “I…I…I duno, I just woke up one day and realized you weren’t ‘The One'”. I couldn’t breathe. I was at a loss. I tried to pull out my ol’bag of tricks to help me feel better but I was only scratching the surface. Then my brother picked up the phone and said, “Hey! Waaannnaa join me for a yoga class? I think yoooou’llll like iiit”. Yoga? I had never done yoga before. I was athletic, I danced a bit in college but I knew nothing of yoga. “Why not,” I said.
It was a 6:30pm class catering to the after work crowd and I was matless, clueless, and breathless. My brother had already rented me a mat and being the older bro he is demonstrated the basics before class, breathing into my ear, “This is Ujai breathe: It sounds like this…” (insert Darth Vadar sound here). Andthe class began. For 90 minutes we moved and breathed while I intermittently dreamt of becoming a yoga teacher. I fantasizing about what the instructors life was like and what IF my life was as simple and satisfying as instructing a crowd of bodies to move and breathe in unison? I was hooked… but still breathless.
You see the problem was, I had the sequencing wrong. I was fixated on my ability to move and breathe, not breathe then move. It took another 5 years (and a lot of shit happening: insert time-lapse here) to really get that The Breath moves The Body. The body does not have to move the breath. This means… we CAN finally drive our fancy car! We can manipulate our breath however we want and from that, motion, emotion and thought comes… or can not come. Ahha! The essence of Life = Breath in Yoga!
For the past year I’ve been practicing manifesting consciousness through my breath and of my breath. And I use the term “practicing” because I view this as a journey, something to participate in rather than just perfect. The good news is is that the journey is really quite simple:
Breathe in with intention.
Breathe out with intention.
Allow the inhalation to initiate the upward movement.
Allow the exhalation to initiate the downward movement.
So we ask:
Q: Why Yoga
Q: Why Breathe
Maybe it was fate that brought me to discover yoga but I can you it is freewill that is helping me find my Breath.