This blog is written by Kathy from our Yorkdale store in Toronto, Ontario. You can find her educating on the floor or overseeing the team’s Facebook page. She was a runner when she started with lululemon two years ago, but now yoga has completely won her over. Read her journey about finding her breath.
I have been practicing yoga for just under two years and have come to think of myself as pretty good at it. However, there is one thing I have yet to get the hang of--breathing. In class I bend halfway up on my inhale, fold on the exhale, step back on the inhale; there was no fluidity between my breath and the movements of my body.
As I sat in half lotus I set the intention to stay true to my breath. Within five minutes I would either start holding my breath or I’d be so concentrated on holding my pose that I would forget to pay attention to my breathing. I decided it didn’t matter. I convinced myself that I was getting the full worth of my practice.
The Yorkdale team at 889 Yonge in Toronto.
A few days ago however, I went to a usual studio of mine, but I there was a different instructor. She had us all attach a sound to our breath in our heads; ‘ma’ on the inhale, ‘om’ on the exhale. She said that at any point during the practice if we find that we have lost touch with our breathing “gently and without judgment find your breath again.” I committed to not only staying true to the fluidity of my breath. I promised myself that when I notice I had lost the ‘ma’ and ‘om’, rather than giving up, I would, without judgment return to it again.
Something amazing happened, suddenly my planks were steadier, I could close my eyes in tree pose without swaying and my downward dogs never got tiring. The steadiness of my breath became the anchor for my entire practice. Did I make it the entire practice without breaking the cycle of 'ma's and 'om's? No, I didn’t. But I will. Probably not next practice, or the practice after that, but I will. I will eventually be able to stay true to my breath. But more importantly, breathing has no longer become ‘that thing in yoga I can’t do’, instead it something vital and fun, something I couldn’t imagine yoga without!