Breath Awareness = Presence
The breath is the foundation of our Vinyasa yoga practice.
Breathing is good for us. When we breathe deeply, we positively impact every system in our body. The most immediate impact we can detect is the way that breathing effects the nervous system- deep breathing is usually more relaxing while shallow or sharp breathing can increase tension or promote/ continue stressful states of being.
Breathing is the present moment.
Shift your attention away from the external for a moment, close your eyes, and acknowledge when you breath in and when you breathe out. Wrap your entire attention around the simplicity of breathing. You might notice how easy it is for the mind to be drawn elsewhere. Once you notice your distraction, bring yourself back to intentional and mindful breathing. It is really challenging for me to focus, so I find it helpful to repeat to myself “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.”
The mental acknowledgement and focus on the breath is one way to stay present. Feeling the breath is another. You can feel the breath flow in cool and flow out warm. You can feel the quality of your breath. You can feel the effects of shallow breathing vs. deep breathing. You can sense your full experience of living as you breathe.
In this way, the mind and body unite around one central focus: the breath. Mental acknowledgement and somatic awareness creates presence. The mind and body arrive in one place.
That, to me, is yoga.