Breath... My Focus Today
The most challenging yoga practice is not doing advanced asanas. Rather, finding self-awareness and connecting to the breathe are far more difficult. It is a deeper layer of the work often being neglected. We easily find our bodies in one place, while the minds are somewhere else. One way to practice the mindfulness is to count our breaths,
So, I chose to focus on breathing today. I held each pose for five breaths (Ashtanga practice) and breathed in and out for a count for 4. I tended to have shorter inhalation than exhalation, and it was quite noticeable especially when I started counting. I was able to stay focus with quiet mind except for doing less favorite poses (aka challenging poses), such as Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Purvottanasana. I caught myself rushing through these two poses with shorter breaths unintentionally just so I could get out of the poses faster. I was hoping to slow down my breaths and be honest with my breath counts today. Unfortunately, I didn’t succeed. Although I counted for 4, the speed was probably 2 times faster. My mind started to wonder. “When could I exit from the poses? Why did I want to count the breaths?” All the voices in my head only made the poses more challenging. It was harder to focus and balance in one leg in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, and more difficult to engage bandhas to lift up in Purvottanasana. Maybe I didn't master these poses, but I accomplished the goal I set for today's practice, self-awareness. By the way, these two poses needed lots of leg and butt strength, which was linked to my focus yesterday.
Learning how to calm the nervous system and be mindful are not easy, but it’s definitely something worth my effort to work on.
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