Sensation + Non-reactivity
When we can learn to breathe through a long hold in a Warrior 2, or we pause at the bottom of the exhale and hold Chaturanga, we’re training our nervous system and our mind to breathe through an intense physical sensation. The practice of this, this training if you will, pays off when we're faced with obstacles off the mat. Maybe it's a person who does or says something thoughtless, or someone who cuts us off on the highway or in a conversation. Maybe we're feeling anxious, impatient, jealous, ashamed, full of guilt or maybe we're mildly depressed. The thing is, when we address these emotions, we're really bringing awareness to the uncomfortable physical sensations they create in the body. When we're enraged, our blood pressure goes up, our heart rate increases, maybe our shoulders tighten or our jaw clenches - or maybe all of the above! When someone says they’re lonely, they’re talking about the ache in their heart. When someone says they’re down or bummed out, they're referring to the listlessness, the heaviness that's settled over everything. They’re talking about sensation.
Developing a practice where we learn to breathe and remain curious when challenging physical sensations arise, gives us back our power. Instead of walking through the world feeling triggered when people do things that seem incomprehensible or hurtful, we pause + breathe + stay present. In that space we've created to breathe, there's also the possibility that understanding and empathy might surface. A little patience, compassion, or the benefit of the doubt can go a long way.
We're all faced with ups and downs. That’s a part of the adventure of life. It's the normal flow of things. However, there’s no need to travel through the world feeling like a victim of circumstance, or be on a crazy high when things are going well, and super low when they aren’t working out the way we intended them to. There's no power in that. Feel into what’s real. Take a breath. And take your power back.