One breath at a time.
If there is one thing I’ve been trying to gain out of a daily yoga practice aside from the physical benefits, it’s been the reminder to take things as they come.
With yoga, one performs poses to the rhythm of the breath (or at least tries) and in doing so can be “present,” with the experience. Or put another way, the mind helps push the body to extend itself to its best place — and through regular practice the possibility of great flexibility and strength, not to mention a more focused mental attitude and the *chance* for some clear moments free of mind-movies!
The practice, however, doesn’t always guarantee the focus or the release of all that mental junk that clogs the thinking which can hamper one’s ability to perform at one’s best. Focus being another whole facet of every discipline and whether it’s yoga or boxing it requires a lot of inner strength to maintain.
That’s where in my estimation the emphasis on the breath in yogic practice can help in priming the mind towards focus: a great way of tricking your mind into paying attention. Kind of like Lennox Blackmore’s pop to my head as he yell’s “wake-up, wake-up,” when I make a truly fundamental blunder during our workout. It’s also a reminder to slow down racing thoughts that are extraneous to the task at hand.
This morning was a case in point for me. Doing yoga, my mind wandering, I lost an entire pose, meaning, I *did* the pose, but lost to a mind-movie I “woke-up” somewhere at the end of it, not really remembering how I got there and in a teeter-totter not to fall down. So yes, I did yoga, but I really didn’t because I lost the stream of what I was doing and without that, can I truly say that I practiced?
Try that in boxing, and one ends up in a face-plant on the mat, and frankly in yoga too, because so many of the poses not only require balance, but mental “presence” to truly gain mastery of the practice. And it is that presence, that “be here now” concept that see’s one through so much of the daily struggles of life.
So, full-circle to the breath … take a few moments out of your busy day and remember to breathe and in so doing, slow down enough to be where you are one step at a time.