I have learned from many different yoga students that most people do not pay much attention to their breathing unless it fails them in some way. One of the central teachings in yoga…the 4th limb of the 8 Limbs of yoga is pranayama. Pranayama has often been translated to mean “breath control” however I prefer one of another translation being “breath expansion”. Pranyama is an important practice on many levels, 2 of which I will offer to you here. 1) Breath is the primary way prana (vital life force) enters the body and 2) Focus on the breath trains the mind to reside in the present moment and at the same time improving the quality of one’s respiratory efficiency. There are numerous ancient pranayama practices some very formal and many much more relaxed…I prefer to bring awareness to some of the practices one can engage on a daily basis while working, recreating or simply relaxing. Such as naming your breath; as you inhale say silently to yourself “breathing in” and as you exhale “breathing out”. This practice will draw your attention directly into the present moment and begin to cultivate the relaxation response in your body through the nervous system. In our classes together I call this “coming home to yourself” as if you are reconnecting with a beloved friend after some time apart. There is a sweetness in that moment of reunion with the oneself and this sweetness is the falling away of all distractions, even if for a moment and being completely present and alive to the miracle of life, to the miracle of you as a divine being. Right now, stop, take a breath, breathe in the beauty of life, the beauty of the present.

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