Tonight is my Friday evening yoga class and I’m writing lessons to be handed out each week. Here is the first one.
Lesson One: REMEMBER YOUR BREATH
A yoga/meditation routine is your personal refuge from the storms and squalls of the mind; it is your good ship that stays steady and never sinks. But in order for you to learn how to sail this ship you have to practice a little each day when the water is calm so you will be ready when the storm comes.
Just as the wind moves the sailing ship, breath moves yoga. In order for the sails of yoga to fill and move you through the storms of life, you have to watch the breath. But watching is not thinking about the breath; watching is being the breath. Watching is witnessing without attaching a thought label to the object. Labels are judgments, prejudices, and colors that are added to the pure sensation of perception. Yoga watching is paying attention without effort—something that takes practice—so that your attention just floats on the breath, and you are aware of the breath’s texture and subtle movement, watching where the breath goes on exhale and where it comes from on inhale.
If the breath could speak to you, it would sound like a wise guru or a loving mother, and it would say, “REMEMBER ME. Remember me when you are walking. Remember me when you are sitting. Remember me when you are talking and when you are not talking. Remember me before you go to sleep and when you awake. But most importantly, remember me when you are angry or feeling lonely and forgotten. Remember me when the storms the rain come and you will discover that the sun will break through those clouds. Remembrance is the power that can set you free.”
The breath is the bridge between the body and the mind. Control the breath and you can subdue your mind. Notice how calming the breath calms the mind. One calms the breath by being conscious of it and letting it go, releasing it from the grip of thought. When the world appears to attack you, don’t react, take refuge in your breath, then respond from that center in the chest. In this way you can learn to sail around the reefs and avoid the whirlpools that try to take you off course. Become a master of your breath and you will be a master of your life.
Your yoga routine is a practice in conscious breathing. Here you learn to hoist the sails of your yoga ship. Let the physical postures flow into one another, breathing you as they go. Put the mind’s little breezes in the background and put your breath in the foreground. The game is to stay on the breath. Imagine you are riding a wisp of smoke. Just as a sailing ship follows the wind, stay with your breath wherever it goes in the routine. Your breath is calling to you: “Follow me.”
And when you meditate after the routine, stay with the breath on a deeper level. It may be helpful in the beginning to count ONE IN, ONE OUT, TWO IN, TWO OUT, until you reach ten, then start over. If you forget, that’s okay. Just come back to the breath. Your breath will always forgive you. Meditation is play and never serious. There is no failure or fault in meditation. There is only the practice. Om Peace. Ed
Posted under General Observations
This post was written by ed on February 29, 2008