Updated: Feb 22, 2021
You hear these words every time you take a yoga class. As a yoga instructor, these words are so important for the student to know where to be in any given pose and to stay present in the practice. Inhale, we bring in what nourishes us. Exhale, we release what doesn’t serve us anymore. The breath reminds us to be grounded...to feel our feet anchored to the earth. We breathe every day but do we really focus on it? Do we really take time to feel the breath move through our bodies?
I’ve been doing a lot of breath work over the last 10 months as I struggled to stay grounded. The wait to find out if you're being furloughed or losing your job each month was one of the most stressful times of my life! People asked me how the pandemic affected me. I started grinding my jaw, leading to TMJ. Stress was overtaking me. I found myself breathing with a little voice in my head saying, "inhale deeply, exhale smoothly," multiple times each day. I incorporated various breathing techniques into my yoga classes...another way to control my stress. Researching new types of breath work to keep things fresh and allow myself to focus on anything but my job status. On December 16, eight months from the day I was furloughed, I lost my job and my breath. Or at least it felt that way. As I started processing, something in my mind shifted, and the weight of my stress lifted. I had a meeting with my intern shortly after. As we spoke about the business, my breath was lighter, smoother, and I felt a sense of calm come over me. Were the stars aligning? Was the universe guiding me? So many questions were swirling around my brain. The shift was overwhelming and a sense of joy filled within me. My breath was back!!!
I spent the next month cleansing both physically and mentally. Removing all the catalogues, files, reports, and paperwork...anything to do with the old job. Finding the inhale and exhale became easier. The weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My TMJ is improving with the help of acupuncture and some TLC. I am laser-focused on building my business. My sister handed me a piece of paper with some words on it regarding “Aquarius,” my astrological sign. What 2020 taught you: honoring your feelings, trusting the universe, and letting go. What’s ahead in 2021: a life reinventing and an energy reboot. The stars did align and the universe guided me to the exact place I need to be in 2021.
Keep breathing through the challenging times. It may not always be smooth and steady, but it will guide you in the right direction.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” Thich Nhat Hanh