So last for the A – Z challenge I did Yoga for the letter Y. I wrote about how good doing yoga every day had been for me and I did touch on the subject of breathing but when I was planning out this years subjects I knew I wanted to include yoga again but this time a specific aspect of it; breath and breathing.
The breath or your breath is a significant part of doing yoga. When I first started I found it quite challenging and there were times when I was laying on the floor huffing and puffing almost getting annoyed at it. Wanting to crack on with the actual movement part of yoga and stop fussing with the breath.
At other times, when holding a pose or doing a movement and she would start talking about breathing I would find myself unable to focus on both things. If I did the deep breaths I would fall over, or out of the pose. All my focus and attention was taken up by what my body was actually doing.
That does still happen sometimes, particularly if it is something new or difficult but as time goes on it happens less and less.
My yoga breath is better. I can slip into it. I can hold poses and ‘breathe into my belly’.
The change with yoga is slow but a little bit every day and you start to see the difference. In my strength, in my posture, in what I can do during the sessions and in regards to my breathing.
Sometimes I still feel like I want to get moving and not overly focus on breath, I have learned that is not a day to do a breath focused practised but something more active but on other days, well I have found huge value in something that at first I thought was silly and a waste of time.
I find myself using that ‘belly breath’ regularly now. If I feel myself getting stressed or my anxiety spiking for some reason taking a moment to focus on my breath and pulling air right down into my tummy instantly seems to have a calming effect. It is not a miracle cure, it is not like all the stress and anxiety goes away completely but it does help and I definitely find it stops it spiraling.
The other time of my day when I have found it really useful is at bed time. For most of my adult life I have struggled with falling asleep. Once I am asleep I am OK but laying awake for sometimes an hour or so was not unusual for me. When Michael and I used to share a bed I would listen every night as he breathing changing from awake to sleep breathing. He has that amazing ability to just lay his head down and go to sleep instantly. Something I have always envied. However the last 6 months or so I would go so far as to say that I am starting to master that skill. Not quite to his level mind you but focusing on my breathing, listening to the sound my breath, really focusing on how it feels and moves within me and how it moves my body. A bit of that and sleep comes to me with it’s warm comforting embrace.
It’s not perfect. I still have some nights when it doesn’t work or takes longer than normal but the difference compared to how it was for most of my adult life is pretty amazing.
The other way in which yoga breathing has had an impact on me is a little more, well shall we say, unusual and I only really discovered these last few months now that I am indulging in some fabulous kink impact play again.
I know breathing is important when it comes to impact play or any kind of kink play that involves pain. The tendency is to hold your breath. Over the years I can’t tell you how many times Michael has had to remind me to breathe mid play. I would suddenly realise I was holding it in and let out a big breath and I would try to keep my breathing even, but I had to think about it and my brain didn’t have the space for that.
Yoga breathing has changed that. I still seem to need to be reminded now and then because breath holding just happens but now it is much less often and when he does remind me I use the belly breath and it helps so much with pain and processing all the sensations. Who knew that yoga breath would have a kink BDSM application but for me it most definitely does.
As Adriene says regularly in her yoga videos
“Inhale lots of love in
Exhale lots of love out”
“Breathe like you love yourself.”
If you want to give it a try then this is a really good one Reunite with your breathe