As we move into 2018, I reflect upon the happenings of the past year. For some of us, finding wellness in the past year may have been a considerable challenge. We were faced with the reckonings of many wrongs, and continue to manage the inevitability of uncertainty and change.
As a yoga practitioner and instructor, I have relied on my contemplative work rooted in the practice of breath and movement to ground myself in these moments of uncertainty and change. In order to engage in this work, I remind myself that my breath is connected to my body and most importantly, I do, in fact, have a body!
I function in this world all too often from the neck up, heavily utilizing my intellect to engage in the everyday happenings of life. Recognizing and noticing my body has invited more curiosity about how I feel in an effort to create a new way of knowing. For me, this new way of knowing, deeply seated in the investigation of how my body feels, has led to a practice of activating my breath and body to create change.
Noticing that I can change the way I feel by paying closer attention to my breath and body has led me to understand the power of using both to effectively regulate emotional experiences, relying less on my tendency to intellectualize, and more on the experience and feeling of knowing.
For me, the use of breath and body awareness is an invitation to cultivate my relationship with myself. When I separate from myself, I am unaware of my breath, my body, or the dignity of the present moment. Inviting myself back to my breath in times of arousal or discomfort has heightened my awareness of its power.
The breath is a gateway to the nervous system. Using my breath, gives me access to regulating my responses. When I am able to do so, I feel safe in my body, and from this safety, I am able to access a more curious, creative stance toward the happenings of every day life.
In the upcoming year, I invite you to find opportunities to nurture this connection with yourself. Being present in your body and being aware of your breath can occur anytime throughout the day.
- Try noticing your body and breath in small doses first.
- Be curious and investigate the sensations that arise in you during certain times of the day.
- As you begin to notice these sensations, try making a choice to take five breaths, inhaling and exhaling through you nose.
- Notice the breath for these brief moments.
- Or perhaps you move your body in a new way. Notice how the body feels as you choose to take a different form.
Discover. Be interested. Perhaps you will find that you have the capacity to change the way you feel through this noticing and investigative process.
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