I find all of the om-mimicking “just breathe” quotes plastered on the web incredibly annoying. Telling one’s self to “just breathe” when one doesn’t have a practice or space between the frustrations and the thinking of this phrase feels like such a slap in the face. Like, it’s another thing my mind uses to boss me around…
If you would just breathe through it, honey, this wouldn’t be so bad… aka if you were just stronger, more organized, in better shape, had more money, thought ahead more, etc we wouldn’t be in this situation.
Telling myself to “just breathe” used to make me feel much much worse. And now when I see friends put it in status updates, I just want to hug them and say, “No. Don’t just breathe. Feel it. Feel every crappy thing you’re feeling. And take a break. And cry. And go for a walk. And give yourself some space. Call a friend. Take a nap. Do something for yourself that is nurturing, not abusive”.
Bit dramatic, I know, but this is about allowing ourselves what we need. And ending the knuckle-down options. This has a lot to do with my yoga practice, so stay with me.
Two weeks ago, I gave myself a small challenge – yoga for 5 days in a row.
I made it 4 days, and they weren’t easy, but they weren’t hard. My favorite part of classes is when the teacher says things like “Honor where you’re at” and “It’s not supposed to be easy, but stay with your breathing”. In this space, I feel like they’re giving me permission to do what I need, to choose the beginner or more challenging modification. To lay in child’s pose for the entire class if I so choose.
Because I don’t give myself this type of permission in my usual day. Even the act of doing yoga feels like a luxury.
We all have an inner dialogue, some people’s friendlier than others. Mine can be like living with an insane person. Insane. There is an incessant mix of self-deprecation, Nazi-like commands and random music playing all.the.time.
Yoga brings me back to myself. It’s like someone takes the volume of the voice in my head and turns it way down. And I’m given space to honor me.
I practiced at home 6 times over the past two weeks. And I attended one amazing class with a friend. And I’m looking forward to practicing again today.
Let me tell you, all of that deep breathing really helps.
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Do you have a yoga practice? Do you practice at home or at a studio? If you have a favorite website or studio in LA – please share in the comments. I love resources. Currently, I use yogatoday.com and took a class at InYoga Center.