Sunday, December 16, 2007

Breathing Mindfully

Around 8 a.m. on most Sunday monrnings, you'll find me in my yoga class at the nearby gym. Yoga had been on my "to do" list for a good part of my life, but it wasn't until four years ago that I was able to make that happen. It's the perfect day of the week and time for me to take yoga as I am not one to luxuriate in bed on any given day. Both my boys are in bed sleeping when I leave and just barely getting up when I return. I love my class; it is gentle yet it strengthens me. It clears my channels. It centers me. It teaches me to listen to my body. Most of all, I learn how to breathe. Doesn't it sound odd, this learning how to breathe? If your'e not a yoga practitioner, you're probably saying to yourself that if we're alive, we know how to breathe. In yoga, we learn how to breathe mindfully and without effort. There are eight limbs (or, segments, if you will) to yoga and this breathing part is referred to as the pranayama. For Hawaiians, this breath is called, "ha". If you say that word with the "h" coming from the bottom of your diaphram, it becomes a breath. There are many different ways to breathe mindfully. And yes, this mindful breathing DOES relax you. Heave a heavy sigh. Notice how you feel during that sigh? A bit of calm? Most of us have had a crying jag (or two or more) in our lives where you cry so hard that your breath pattern changes and you find yourself taking in several breaths before one is let out (sorta like a rapid fire sniffing). If you were to try that out right now, notice how it makes you feel. Alright, before you start squirming too much from this mind-body-spirit mumbo jumbo, I'll leave you with a link to Hawaiian Proverbs. They post a new proverb each week and over time, these proverbs will give you a great insight to what the Hawaiian Way is. One last thing: heave another heavy sigh. Now, doesn't that feel good?

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