“You are the magic thing that makes me breathe. I. NEVER. BREATHE. when I do it is in the wrong direction. After an hour or so with you I at least got a good 5 mins of deep clean breaths.”
That was a chat message from a dear friend of mine, and a regular at my weekly Zoom stretching class. It was so profound to me because it’s one of the simple ways a teacher can help, to be of value… just by reminding you to breathe…
I’ll never forget being on my way to teach my very first public yoga class back in early 2008, just dying of nerves, and running into my teacher who I really admired. I told her I was freaking out and she told me to “teach them about everything in yoga that’s not exercise”. This couldn’t have been better advice for me, and she must have known this on some level, having been a newbie herself at some point. We get so caught up in making sure you get a “good workout”, so you can “feel like you did something” so you’ll come back to our class.
But if people just wanted to “feel like they did something”, that’s what literally every single other square foot of the gym is for.
So, give them all the other stuff. It makes so much sense.
I haven’t ever forgotten that, though I don’t always give myself a well-rounded practice either. (Do as I say, not as I do… as they say.) One time I hired that same teacher for a private session; I was just feeling uninspired and needed a shot of her energy. During our time together she commented on how I had obviously been teaching a lot because I had gotten really good at holding a pose and not breathing. And, true to form, our session was mostly about breathing, but I still got a killer workout.
… because the workout part is built right in. It’s all the other stuff that makes it not exercise.
So I love it when someone comments on the “not exercise” parts. That’s the yoga. Or in this case, the Pranayama… the breath work. That’s the stuff we need, that’s really why we come here.
Square Breath – A Quick Practice
I want you to have a chance to experience the “not exercise” too, so I made an audio tutorial of Samavrtti, or Square Breath (sometimes called Box Breath). The beauty of it is that you can do it anywhere, any time, in any outfit at all. Because it’s not even exercise, but I promise you’ll feel like you did something.
Got 6 minutes to breathe with me? Click here.
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