The Rhythm of Breath

I just returned from a week yoga retreat at Kripalu with Shiva Rea. Here is my reflection from my first yoga practice with Shiva.

I will start off by saying that Shiva is an amazing teacher whose class sequence really enables you to get deep into your body and embody your yoga practice. 

Each practice during the retreat was focused not on reaching a peak pose, which is usually the theme of a vinyasa class sequence, but on slowing down the breath and having our movement match the pace of the breath. As Shiva put it, every movement and inhalation or exhalation has a “beginning, middle and an end.”

This practiced challenged me to lengthen my inhalation; resulting in my ego to yell, “breathe longer!”, from time to time and causing me to almost choke on my breath and clench my teeth together in frustration.

However, as we got deeper into the sequence, I finally was able to let go. I accepted my shallow inhalation and just focused on filling my lower belly with as much air as I could. I knew this was the best I could do. My jaw finally began to relax and I began to slowly slip into the deep feeling of relaxation that I experienced at the first night session

Everything came together. The rhythm of my heart beat and the rhythm of my breath allowed my nervous system to calm by letting go of the expectations of my practice and being grateful for every breathe I was able to take.

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