Eye Of The Storm
Many are content with yoga as just a great workout when it has the potential to be so much more. The lessons you will learn about yourself and your body can be applied to many other areas of your life. You have to do the work of consciously making the connection though. One way to move your practice to the next level is to dedicate yourself to taking your breathing seriously. Try to maintain steady ujjayi breath throughout a session without deviating.
Most people start the hour in ujjayi but quickly give it up as physical exertion increases and the body starts to demand more oxygen. The brain sends panic signals and the pressing need to gulp in as much air as possible takes over. This is an understandable reaction but becoming consciously aware when it happens to you while attempting to maintain your calm breathing in the face of it will have profound benefits. You will find yourself more often in a meditative state while moving through asanas, and feel more refreshed and invigorated after practicing.
It’s the most rigorous training I know of to become a person who is serene and stable regardless of the chaos that surrounds you. When life becomes hectic you will quickly recognize it and come into your ujjayi breathing without having to think, exuding calm and putting yourself in position to act like and be viewed as a leader. Most of the distractions and annoyances that set us off during the day really cannot compare to the intensity of remaining calm and focused as your body and brain scream out for more air and reprieve from the difficulty of poses.
Be the eye of the storm. I like this expression because it reminds us that the storm has not gone away. We don’t ignore it or pretend it does not exist, we just remain perfectly still in the center of it. Through this process you will come to the powerful realization that your thoughts and emotions do not control you. You control them. They are worthwhile because they often show you the truth of a situation, but you have the capacity to observe them and respond in the moment as you see fit.
You are going to fail more often than you succeed, especially at first, when you actively try to maintain ujjayi breath during an entire session. This is a good thing. You are creating a visceral, concrete challenge for yourself that you experience fully in the moment, and you will learn to accept success and failure in other areas too. Stick with it and watch your yoga practice and your life skyrocket to new heights of success.