Often when life is challenging, and we need to recalculate. We are told by others to take a ‘breath”. Hopefully this process feels like a life-line, a welcome time out, or an opportunity to hit the pause button, a new path re-connecting ourselves or others.
I am a huge fan of breathing. Yoga in particular has been my teacher, encouraging me to harness my breath to relax, work through a difficult pose, or recapture my focus for over twenty years. I consider all this yoga breathing —-inhaling and exhaling, a positive part of my life and my yoga practice.
But taking a “breath” is not necessarily the same thing as simply inhaling. And exhaling is not just half of the breathing process, but an opportunity to release. These breaths are meant to be cleansing and relaxing and purposeful. A way forward. In and out. In and out. Connecting. Recalculating. Opening. Closing. Opening again.
I have recently needed to remind myself to breathe. Breathing is possibly the most mundane, but obviously necessary processes that we do every day. However, we don’t show it the respect it deserves. We don’t give it the thought and consideration it demands. Taking a breath, inhaling, is actually more complicated than just beginning the inadvertent action of breathing in and out. Taking a BIG breath can be the initial preparation for contemplating a BIG step in life. On the other side of that breath is the successful exhale. The “aha” moment. The answer.
Because a really noisy exhale sounds more like a fire breathing dragon ( i.e. the term “breath of fire” in yoga). An exhale expels more than just CO2. It can expel anxiety, stress or even fear. The key is whether you exhale with confidence and purpose, making a sincere effort to own that exhale. Then do you actually take that big step, or do you turn chicken, wimp out, tuck your tail between your legs and sigh instead?
Sighing can be a defeatist’s exhale. It sounds downright passive-aggressive. It says “I know how to exhale, but instead of owning a really big exhale that trumpets in a change in the weather, I’m just gonna sigh to let you know I’m still here but I just don’t have the guts to do anything about it.
So to connect to yourself, your surroundings, and those around you, own your breath. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Make it sweet. Make it powerful. Make it purposeful. But most of all, just breathe. And then whatever needs to be recalculated has a chance. There is room in that space between your inhale and exhale for connection. For recalculating. And for vision.