Pranayama…Just Breathe

“Whatever work we attempt cannot be perfectly done unless our minds are tranquil and calm. 

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


Excerpt from Meditations from the Mat by R. Gates:

“Whether you’re practicing on your own or in class, take some time at the beginning of your practice to arrive.  I begin my practice with 15 minutes of pranayama, reclining on my back with a bolster elevating my chest to assist the expansion of my lungs.  This posture is physically and mentally relaxing, allowing me to become physically tranquil and calm.  The pranayama also calms and focuses my mind while it prepares my lungs for asana.  Make a science of beginnings.  Start to become conscious of the state of your mind as you assume the postures of your life.”


For me this really resonated- I’m a huge devotee of creating sacred space each morning to center mind body and soul.  It makes such an incredible difference in how I approach my day, and I have equanimity and joy through the events of the day- rather than reacting and being pushed through the day.  This is why each morning I read a devotional to feed my mind & spirit, why I have fresh green juice & a green tea only (until about noon) along with a daily yoga practice at my studio (located conveniently across the street 🙂 I’m blessed).  These small investments each morning, have changed my life.  I used to get something subtle anxious feelings in the morning, bombarded with feelings of things left undone, things to do, and it may be the type A personality I was born with or a vestige of too many years spent in competitive grad/post-grad programs.  But it has been a demon that I’ve fought with ever since graduation.  Allowing myself this morning space – for peace, contemplation, sweat, rejuvenation- and allowing my mind, body and soul to rest, restore and charge for the day- has been the best medicine that I never knew I needed.  Luckily I found my sacred mornings at the most crucial & opportune time of life- when I most desperately needed it.  On mornings when I’m not in my usual routine (most recently at a boyfriend’s) I could feel the familiar anxiety creeping back in- and my mind, spirit & physical body were a mess & uncontrollable – it was an incredibly difficult day.  To me my sacred mornings are rituals that I’ll have in my life forever- it helps me create the self, the day and the life that I envision for myself- to live beautifully and with joy.

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