Monday, January 5, 2009

Don't Forget to Breathe

"Keep breathing! I don't know much, but I know if you don't breathe, you won't make it to the end of class!"

My yoga instructor said this today as we were in a particularly challenging position. The concept of breathing in yoga is fundamental. Breath enhances yoga and yoga improves the breath. When you do yoga, and focus on your breath, you can be in the moment. You've probably heard the advice many times to stay in the present moment. Its great advice, but without some help and contextual information on how to do that, its not all that helpful. I've finished an entire yoga practice before and not had one relevant present-moment empty-fulfilling thought. I've also finished a class and felt like I floated through the entire thing thought-less. So the answer to how to stay in the moment is much like the answer to how to find happiness. You don't strive to achieve it, you just experience it now.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because in my world of wellness coaching, I'm switching gears a little bit to focus for the next few months on stress/depression/anxiety management. Part of some traditional approaches are going to be important, but we'll also be extending what we've already talked about. Even if you don't have issues with managing your emotions, you may still find the information useful. I think it will apply to other things too---losing weight, eating healthy, quitting smoking, exercising:
"The outer situation is always a reflection of the collective inner situation." - Peace Pilgrim

Think about what these quotes might mean in your life. In general, most people strive or search for happiness---by reaching certain milestones or by making other people happy. In all truthfulness, although goal setting is good and helpful, if you have that mindset you will just keep creating new goals for when you can reach your happiness---and you'll likely never get there.

"In order to have something, you must first be something." - Goethe

"Instead of achieving to be happy, happily achieve."-David Wolfe

In the moments when you can't relate to these statements, try focusing on your breathing for a minute. Its a great way to re-focus some wayward perspective that has crept up on you.

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