Just Breathe

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This anecdote about the complexity and emotional multi-tasking of a woman’s mind has had me chuckling since I saw it a few weeks ago floating around on Facebook.  And I love this article on yoga therapy and ADHD that was shared with me this week by its author and my beautiful friend Michelle Weldon who is a local psychologist and yoga teacher.  Combined with some recent discussions with friends concerning how easily the mind gets overwhelmed and how that causes inadvertent actions/expressions/lack-of-expressions to happen because of that overwhelm, these things have all inspired my message to yoga classes this week:

Our modern chaotic minds can seem like the equivalent of a computer with thousands of web browser tabs open all at the same time.  But we have a grounding force within us, that is always with us, that if we focus on can close those tabs one-by-one: our BREATH.  The next time you feel overwhelmed, return to a simple focus on your inhales and exhales.  It will calm, ground, and re-center.

Michelle explains how breath and yoga work to ground and focus the mind: “In yoga we pair breath with movement…meaning we learn to consciously control our breath as we move through different poses.  When we focus on lengthening the inhale and exhale, we are, as a natural consequence, practicing focusing our attention.  The breath gives us something tangible on which to focus…It is always happening…thus it is a point of focus that is easily accessible at any time. Different types of breath work…primarily work to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and engage communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain… This helps rewire our brain to slow down create space between thought and action….Yoga Asana (the movement through physical poses of yoga) is in itself, a moving meditation.  A sustained focus on breath and attention while moving…What I notice is that when I need to focus, I have the ability to return to my breath… for a moment and that quiets my mind, so that if I want to focus, I can.  And then for the rest of the time, things just feel smoother…” 

Who of us couldn’t use a little “space between thought and action?” How many times have we done something without thinking, or wished we could retract something we said out of anger or brattyness?  The next time you feel a little stressed out, or like you have too many web browser tabs open in your mind, just stop, slow down, find your breath, and give yourself a few moments to just respire.  Your action that follows will be more thoughtful, attentive, authentic, and positively impactful.

(If you want to read something else by Michelle that she wrote specifically for Prana Fitness, check out this sweet post from last summer 🙂 )

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