BE PRESENT PAY ATTENTION AND BREATH
JANUARY 5, 2011. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BREATH. That's it. This is yoga! And this yoga can be practiced anytime, without any warm-up, anywhere, with anyone or by yourself. I know you were probably thinking it would be harder or more complicated? But nah, Yoga teaches us that when we are not present our minds become totally distracted and our thoughts are all over the place, starting stopping, wandering from one thing to the other at often break neck speed. If we pay attention we harness the power of our thoughts. As a human being this is what distinguishes us from other creatures and is our GREATEST STRENGTH.
Forgetting to pay attention happens to the best of us.
The Yoga Sutras say “enjoyment is the sweetness of noticing your life right now – smell, taste, feeling, sensation” You see in times of doubt the key thing to know is that there is a point to it all. Even when we don’t understand why things are happening in our life we can rest assured as Sadie Nardini says, “alongside positive change, challenge appears.” This is why the greater point to spiritual practice is simply to drop in, tune in and PAY ATTENTION.
My teacher Shiva Rea says, "All beings have their yoga. This insight comes from a profound contemplation by Abhinavagupta. [He was] a prolific 12th-century scholar. He has this great axiom about yoga which is “tuning ourselves into our essential vibration.” We are learning how to tune ourselves into being present. This is why we go a yoga class. We feel out of tune. We start to feel in tune after the practice. I think only human beings distort ourselves to be something that we already are, our essential selves. For instance, a tiger essentially knows its nature; where as human beings have this incredible capacity to forget who we are and then have to search for ourselves."
I know from my own practice that the most powerful thing we can do is just be present to whatever is happening, tune in and trust that ability to focus one's thoughts will be enough to bring the clarity you need for the next moment. And we only live one breath, one moment at a time without needing to change anything. Today practice Anapana-Sati breathing and notice how this impacts the best of your day. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
ANAPANA-SATI BREATHING TECHNIQUE
Watch for the judgmental mind that discounts small movements as insignificant or unimportant
or the ambitious mind that jumps in to tell you to make your breath bigger or deeper,
or labels your perceptions as good or bad in order to arrive at a conclusion.
- Donna Farhi
DEFINITION: Anapana means breathing. The full name of this technique is anapanasati or mindfulness breathing.
PURPOSE: The primary purpose of this breathing concept is to gather more specific information about one's breathing patterns, rhythm, and intelligence. Simply observing the natural breath, do not breathe in a certain way or make your breath imposing. It is helpful to enter this inquiry with curiosity and inquisitiveness rather than a desire to get it right. This technique will calm your mind and keep you in the present preventing thoughts from stimulating stress. Be watchful. Thoughts will sneak up on you. When you catch yourself drifting toward thoughts, you must bring yourself back to natural breathing.
TECHNIQUE: Lay on your back or sit in any comfortable position, place one hand on the belly and the other on the chest or place both hands on the belly with the fingertips below the navel. After observing the location of the breath, you may move the arms to the side with the palms facing up.
Location of the Breath: Where is the movement of the breath most noticeable? In the lower part of my body or in the upper part?
Origin of the Breath: Where does the movement of the breath begin? Just as an earthquake has an epicenter that scientists can locate, your breath has an epicenter.
Frequency of the Breath: Is your breath fast or slow or somewhere in between? Count the number of breaths per minute or if possible have a friend count them for you. Twelve to fourteen breaths per minute is consdidered a normal rate.
Phrasing of the Breath: Is there a noticeable difference between the length of your inhalation and exhalation? Are they equal?
Texture of the Breath: Is the textyrue of your breath smooth and even or is it jerky and uneven?
Depth of the Breath: Does the breath feel deep or shallow?
Quality of the Breath: If you could describe the quality of your breath what word or words would you use? Is it pneumatic, labored, billowing?...Let descriptive worlds or images arise without latering them in any way. Do you have any images that you associate with your breathing?
Reference: Donni Farhi, The Breathing Book
"I like Anapana because there is no judgment involved. It is refreshing to just feel the breath without trying, or feeling the need to change it. It creates a kind of self acceptance for me. I am where I am." - Shannon Barker