breathing in…breathing out…

buddha corner-med
Buddha corner of the back garden

In the last month of our SomaYoga Teacher Training we are studying the final Yama of Aparigraha, Non- Possessiveness. (The Yamas are the basis of Yoga’s code of ethics, the compass by which yogis and yoginis practice and live.)

This past week, we were practicing with breathing in life on the inbreath and letting life go of it on the outbreath. It has been a good week for me to practice this as I hurt my lower back/sacrum carrying too much weight a few weeks ago and this past week was especially difficult.

  • Breathing in, I breathe in pain. Breathing out, I breathe out release.
  • Breathing in, I breathe in aching. Breathing out, I breathe out letting go.
  • In, ouch. Out, release.
  • In, tightness. Out, letting go.

Did this make the pain go away? NO! But I find when I can get curious about each moment, my experience is actually changing, dynamic. I’m not in continual pain if my mind can let go of thinking about the pain (or fear or…)!

That’s what I’m inviting on the “breathing out,” the mind letting go. It’s not always easy. I find I have had a story going—my back hurts and it’s not getting better and I’m afraid… When I’m not mindfully meeting the moment, that story wins. When I am, however, I find that not all moments are full of pain.

  • Some are full of gratitude for the sun and breeze on the river birch leaves outside the window.
  • Some are full of amazement at the red cardinal visiting the garden.
  • Some are full of luxurious, sensual melting of my body in the hot sun.
  • Some are full of sweet moments of contact with my husband.

And with each moment, I practice taking it in fully and then releasing it and letting it go. I’m learning that even these so-called “good” feelings need to be released to make way for the next moment.

In this way, Deborah Adele explains, in her lovely book The Yamas and Niyamas, we make way for the next experience. There is an openness and a freedom in this. When we’re not caught in assumptions, beliefs, and stories—the next moment could be anything!

When I cling to my story of being in constant pain and not healing, I am not able to really savor the river birch leaves outside my window, which the standing desk I cobbled together to give my back relief, faces. Releasing the pain on the outbreath for just a moment gives me the chance to breathe in something else—something beautiful that fills me with gratitude! (And I’m willing to bet gratitude has a healing effect on the body that fear does not…)

I can see how this practice could really support me when I’m in other hard places—breathe it in and then breathe out the story, the stuckness, the tension. Breathe in a new moment and experience that!

What are you breathing in? Are you releasing it to make room for something else? Something that you can’t imagine, that might be rich and full and amazing?

I experience this releasing also as the Yin phase of the breath. Exhaling and letting go into the ground, softening, releasing, calming…ready to allow the Yang, active phase of doing to begin, to bring in something new…We need both.

Come breathe in and out with me at my August 2nd The Way of the Happy Woman®: Summer Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat!

And I’d be happy to accompany you on this path with a Free Discovery Session to explore my Women’s Holistic Health and Wellness Coaching.

I have posted two breath practices to support you on my site (toward the bottom of the page).

Author: Katy Taylor

I am a regular person, like you. I am an earth lover, a seeker, a singer, a gardener, a partner and friend. I have attended a lot of trainings and continue to do my work to grow and deepen and become a more loving person. If you're interested, you can read more about me on the About page.

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