SURRENDER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
April 2, 2011. Count how many times you’ve set an expectation in the last 24 hours? About the weather, your job, your partner, your children, your family? And then compare that to how many times the reality matched your expectation.
How did that make you feel?
When we have decided in advance how someone else is going to act or how a situation is going to be we open ourselves up to suffering when the reality doesn’t match our expectation. In yogic philosophy this attachment to expectation is a root cause of human suffering.
Focused inward another name for expectation is Self-Judgment. This critical prism of judging ourselves in advance of the outcome and again with the result only brings more disappointment.
We would do well to heed the advice of Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now who writes, “When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. The realm of Being, which has been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, and an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love.” This practice on and off the mat helps us to see clearly without making happiness dependent upon our expectations. This acceptance for sure brings about inner peace, joy and love.
So that no matter what the world presents we know we can manage remaining quiet and centered at our center. "Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer." (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth)
Who goes on to write “To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly.” Try it for a week or even a day where you surrender your heavy expectations of yourself and others and live with less resistance to this isness of now and then decide if its worth going back to again living with the burden of expectation for even a day longer. Love yourself, love your day, love your ilfe, Silvia
TODAY’S SWEET PLAYLIST
Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Artists
In Another Time, Sade
Miss Teardrops, Felix Laband
Allah Hoo, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Yara Seeli Seeli, Lata Mangeshkar
Express Yourself, Mocean Worker, Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street
Mr Big Stuff, Jean Knight
In The Colors, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Blind to You, Collie Buddz
Jet Lag, Joss Stone
Butterflyz, Alicia Keys
In A Sentimental Mood, Nancy Wilson with Hank Jones
Shavasana/Deep Relaxation, Shiva Rea
TRUST AND SURRENDER AS SPIRITUAL ALCHEMY
March 11, 2011. There is this spiritual alchemy where we move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outside us.
Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural spiritual alchemy when we practice ishvara pranidhana.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredents are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. For me the hardest practice is wanting to rewrite the past instead of just letting it go. I waste time wishing things had been different which pulls me out of the present. And when we are not living in the present there is No trust for other people or the universal energies that support us. This really messes with my people relationships and so I come to the mat to get beyond this.
"Sometimes in order to be happy in the present moment you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past."
Can we practice our life in a way that if something doesn’t work out the way you want it to we don’t fall apart? Can you endeavor to life your best life without attachment to the outcome but instead a trust for what is? Or as Judith Lasater puts it, “The best practice is that that asks us to believe without proof of the future, without confirmation that the outcome will be what we want it to be. It just is, it is a state of being. A place of being present and allowing the next thing to unfold. Yoga teaches us that place of not knowing.”
This is the idea that we can practice experiencing each moment not needing it to be different but to trust what is unfolding and enjoying it fully in that state of trusting a greater energy, Ishvara Pranidhana. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
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ALCHEMY OF YOGA
OCTOBER 16, 2010. I along with my partner named our company Alchemy Tours because of the combined influence of the book The Alchemist and the practice of Yoga. Really Yoga is about taking the personal growth we experience on the mat as a result of this unique alchemy of yoga into making the changes we want in our lives, in our bodies, in our minds, in our hearts. Anytime you want to transform and move beyond your limitations to me this is the Alchemy of Yoga. And this what I call the life coaching work I do through yoga.
Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. "Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga." Translated to mean that yoga helps us transforms ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy - Tapas
2. Mental Alchemy - Svadhaya
3. Spiritual Alchemy - ishvara pranidahana
Tapas helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up, literally heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa
While we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. (Different than studying what other people to do to try to learn about you, which many of us have tried in other modalities). Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking, why are we thinking that (but without over analysis) more like an older brother would look after a little sister. In this way we are the actor on the stage starring in our life story as well as sitting front row center as the audience.
As we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together and marinate. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outisde us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredients are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. We are always different from the beginning of class to the end. Whether we want to be or not, we are changed, we are free. In that freedom is love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS This is why and what lies at the heart of leading Yoga Retreats around the world. I want to help facilitate the Alchemy of Yoga, the changes that YOU want in your life. And I am convinced we can make amazing transformations in a long weekend, a week with the right facilitation and life coaching. Join me! Facebook Alchemy Tours. Set intention for 2011 this December 8-12 Haramara Retreat Mexico.
THE UNIVERSE KNOWS WHATS IT DOING WITH YOUR LIFE
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010. My favorite class to teach is where we start by meditating on our open hand. That in this simple gesture we have the paradox of yoga: to open and to surrender, at the same time. If we close our fist we are not able to let go of the mental agitations that heavy us. If we close our fist we are clearly not opening to a greater force beyond ourselves.
“Grace wakes us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. -Krishna Das
To Open to Grace, is the first principle in Anusara Yoga, but it applies to all spiritual practice. To open requires the courage to not remain closed or tight hearted or asleep to our lives. It is an awakening! To open to the light of grace and love that exists everywhere as universal support. I especially like this expression of "Opening to Grace" from Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love. "To open to Grace is to ask that only loving, helpful thoughts remain in our minds, and all the rest be let go".
The concept of Surrender in yoga is really in two parts.
1. When we surrender to Grace we surrender to something bigger than ourselves. Ok that seems to make sense for just about anybody. But the next part is harder for the cynical mind...
2. When we surrender we do so to a universe that knows what it is doing.
To trust that what I AM OPENING INTO will love me without conditions and has my best interests at heart is a larger leap of faith. But it is exactly when we stop trying to over control events when they fall into a natural order, an order that works. At that moment where we allow a power much greater than our own to take over we begin to trust that the power that holds galaxies together can certainly handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives".
So the practice today is to peel back the layers, let the light in, OPEN UP to the truth of who you are and how you want to be living your life. This requires that you surrender and let go of the past, of the hurt and create space for what comes next. Even though none of us really knows exactly what comes next. We must just believe as we co-create our lives with the universal intelligence of love that spirit has our best interests at heart. We are loved, we are love. So today take comfort in loving yourself, loving your day, loving your life! Silvia, Anusara Inspired Yoga Teacher, ERYT
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way." - GOETHE
DIRECTING AND ALLOWING YOUR LIFE
“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change, for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up” - Unknown author
AUGUST 30TH, 2010. Today my meditation focused on what combination it takes of Directing and Allowing in your life to achieve ordinary happiness. To me it is like Alternate Nostril breathing. The inhale is a directed effort but then we allow the exhale to empty and there is that pause at the end of the out breath that purifies that allowing. You must wait for it to occur for extraordinary change is within that pause. Now at the same time we surrender to the changes that are outside our control we exert effort in directing our lives. This is a nondualistic happening: one not more important than the other. Directing and allowing, allowing and directing. Inhale, exhale.
"One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular." -Tony Robbins
The challenge is the constant sensitive adjustment necessary to manage especially the directing side of life. It is too easy to let life be done to us and give up all control of plans for the best life ever. I know this, we get on the treadmill of daily life (work, home, sleep, work, home, sleep) and convince ourselves to not make time to focus our attention. The time on the mat in yoga class or going on retreat is that period of directing our thoughts and processing what we are allowing for in our lives. So today engage more directly with yourself. You are the audience and the actor on the stage of your life and this is on a daily basis the performance of your life! "In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently." -Tony Robbins
And just like we learn to refine our awareness of breathing we can refine the consistency of how we direct our lives. Go big, dig deep and go for it! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
WHAT COMES NEXT? OPENING TO GRACE & SURRENDER
Monday May 17, 2010, SO WHAT COMES NEXT? I am so inspired by life, my students, my friends to bring the best yoga ever this week! I thought we'd dedicate this week to The Power of Grace and how we can tap into our own inner strength to face the unknown of life. Marianne Williamson says: "When we surrender to (Grace) we surrender to something bigger than ourselves - to a universe that knows what it is doing."
The key words I’m meditating on this week are:
This idea of Opening to Grace is a term often associated with yoga practice. It is a way of living life with an open-hearted attitude of infinite possibility and universal support. A way of seeing the world as being on our side and not against us. I especially like this expression of "Opening to Grace" from Marianne Williamson's book, "A Return to Love".
"To open to Grace is to ask that only loving, helpful thoughts remain in our minds, and all the rest be let go". When we surrender to (Grace) we surrender to something bigger than ourselves - to a universe that knows what it is doing. When we stop trying to control events they fall into a natural order, an order that works. We're at rest while a power much greater than our own takes over, and it does a much better job than we could have done. We learn to trust the power that holds galaxies together can handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives".
So you see this is a yogic paradox, to open and let go all at the same time. But it makes sense, we have to create space for what comes next but none of us knows exactly what that is. We are for sure co-creating with the universe but even with our hand on the tiller going along in our little boat we don’t know what the current of grace has in store for us. It requires a great deal of our own best strength to commit to participating in our lives with both feet in and simply believe that that in if we wake up the dream will be our reality. Or in the words of Krishna Das, “Grace wakes us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. Join me and take that next step into your best life ever! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
SURRENDER INTO SAVASANA EVERY MOMENT
NOVEMBER 4, 2009: The practice of savasana is an interesting one especially today where we are all so good at promoting constant activity. Generally we are very good at getting new projects started and working ourselves ragged but how good are you at surrendering? Can you take a few breaths right now to empty the residue of your day and surrender to what it is happening right now. The quality of surrender is what we learn amongst other things in Savasana. So today we practiced Savasana, final relaxation, a number of times during class.
Savasana helps us in key ways:
1. To be ok with the non-doing which we talk about in yoga as BEING PRESENT
2. To embrace endings with as much gusto as we embrace beginnings. Art of CLOSURE (Pratikryasana)
3. To learn how to relax and self-comfort (this is the antidote to fight/flight response)
4. To recognize and admit to ourselves everything has an EXPIRATION DATE
So then what? How does savasana apply in every moment, every pose? It helps us notice that life is right now. There is no need to keep waiting to be happy, to keep looking for more or better but instead start enjoying the sweetness of our life right now. Ok so here's the thing I love lying down and being still. So maybe I was born to practice savasana but I think we all are, we just have to practice. I hope you can through savasana learn to be more present, put closure to open elements of your life so you can stay with the flow, learn practical ways to relax and make the most of this moment!
But remember we are only able to find surrender when we cultivate peace within ourselves. Shannon Gannon, Jivamukti founder says, “The practices of yoga create peace in ourselves, and that peace will be reflected in the world around us. If we truly want world peace we must begin by embodying that peace ourselves. The practice of yoga will end war, even wars of which we often are not even aware. Speak out for peace, live peacefully, think well of others, do what you can to uplift the lives of others. Find a way to live so that your own life enhances the lives of others. Give up the love of power for the power of love. Peace will come when we have given up hateful thoughts, cruel words, and violent actions in our own daily lives. Cultivate hopeful thoughts, sweet speech and kind actions. Don't wait for a better world. Start now to create a universe of harmony and peace. It is up to you.
Wishing you peaceful surrender, Silvia
WITHOUT ATTACHMENT TO THE OUTCOME
This is the idea that we can practice experiencing each moment, not missing a thing, not missing the pretty colors, people and blessings right in front of us. On the mat we use the body to observe where we are, making sensitive adjustments to stay tuned in, and then allow the unfolding. This keeps us mindful to the moment rather than the goal or outcome. The Yoga Sutras speak to this as vairagya (non attachment), chapter 1 verse 15.
Key things to know include:
Non-attachment is not suppression: Non-attachment is not a mere personality trait that one practices in dealing with the other people of the world. It is very easy to fool oneself into thinking that non-attachment is being practiced when what is really happening is pretending to be non-attached. It is like saying that you have lost your inner craving to some object while inside you are longing for it intensely. Non-attachment is not a process of suppression or repression of wants, wishes, desires, thoughts, or emotions. It comes by the ongoing practice of awareness of the existence of attachments (kleshas, 1.5, 2.3) and gradually letting these weaken (2.4).
Non-attachment is cessation: If attachment does occur (whether attraction or aversion), wherein attention wraps itself around a deep mental impression, the ensuing non-attachment comes from the cessation of mental clinging, not from an act of prying attention away forcefully. It is easy to hear of the philosophy of non-attachment and then mistakenly walk around lying to ourselves, internally saying something like, "I'm not attached; I'm not attached." This is not non-attachment. It is better to see realistically where our minds are attached, and then learn to systematically release that coloring through the external and internal practices of yoga meditation.
Non-attachment is not detachment: It is not mere semantics to say that non-attachment is different from detachment. Detachment implies that there is first attachment, and that you then apply some method or technique to disconnect that attachment. It implies an act of doing something to cause the separation to occur. Non-attachment, on the other hand, means that the connection simply does not occur in the first place. Non-attachment is not a case of doing something, but is instead a non-doing sort of thing. It means that your attention does not grab onto that impression in the mind in the first place.
Non-attachment deepens through all levels: Patanjali explains that non-attachment applies to progressively deeper levels of our being. While we might begin with our more surface level attachments, such as the objects and people of daily life, the practice deepens to include all of the objects or experiences we might have only heard about, including the many powers or experiences of the psychic or subtle realm. We gradually see that even these are nothing but distractions on the journey to Self-realization, and we learn to set them aside as well.
RELAXING OUR EFFORT: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JULY 24TH, 2009:
Relaxing effort and fixing the mind on the infinite (asana is perfected). Yoga Sutras 2.47
To me this sutra is about how we relate to the questions and answers seeking in our lives. In class it is that opportunity to stop working so hard at finding answers for life (why things happened in the past as well as reassurances for what is going tO happen in the future) and just be in a state of now. Some psychologists call this “easy speed” This is that place of just pure awareness of the questions of our lives instead of the constant striving for the answers. This is the advanced practice.
A right effort an effective effort and why the poses need not be exotic to effective. I want the poses to be familiar enough that we can find the ease and all the technique becomes effortless so we can be here right now on all levels (emotional, mental, physical, spiritual). So let the poses be the questions, be the breath and unite your focus to breath and move. This then allows us to love the questions as poet Maria Rilke says in her poem:
From "Letters to a Young Poet" by Maria Rilke
I want to beg of you much as I can to be patient
toward all that's unsolved in your heart,
and learn to love the questions themselves,
like locked rooms, or like books that are
written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you,
because you would not be able to live them,
and the point is to live everything.
Live the question now,
perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.
When we find this infinite state then the unknown becomes less scary. We are in the isness of now (as Eckhart Tolle puts it so well). So let yourself feel your emotions around the unknown. Remember all of us are wondering about the future (it’s a trick and delusion of the human psyche). The thing is none of us know the outcome of any given day, the future is an illusion. Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious…” The way to avoid suffering is to learn to be present in the isness and be less afraid of the unknown so we can relax our effort and simply enjoy being here and seeing what is real and beautiful! I love you all, Silvia
LOVE & SURRENDER
April 14th, 2009: My totem recently changed, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the space of surrender. In the practice it is the space of
Space itself equates to time. Of which we have ample amounts. I used to say Time is Big, still like that, but also like the feeling of saying that we have ample time. So today take your time (on the mat or not) to be inspired. Ask yourself: “What are my passions” “When am I happiest” :What would make me happier” “What do I really want”
In the practice today we breathed in, we breathed out and then we held the breath out in every pose. This helped us to slow down and appreciate what it is we really need to be in order to be in love with our live’s. As we know from the law of attraction as my friend Sadie Nardini says, “we attract the people to us who reflect the relationships we’re having with ourselves.” If you say what relationship??? That’s it exactly, you have to make space in order to have the relationship to yourself. The whole practice is designed to help us promote self-love. This means loving ourselves unconditionally. Once you figure this out you realize the universe wants to love you back, spirit loves you, nature loves you and then you are free of all mental tortures. Ultimate freedom and surrender is yours!
Well it makes sense. Now the question is how do you surrender enough to slow down and meet yourself. If you’re in a funk what do you do to get back to loving yourself? One way is to chant 50
THIS WEEK THEMES, LESSONS, INSPIRATIONS
This week our focus will be focused on living life WITHOUT LIMITATIONS.
Monday: Law of Attraction & Law of Abundance
Tuesday: Love & Surrender
Wednesday: What happens between Inhale and Exhale - Space of OM
Thursday: Dream without Limits
Friday: Action of Karma, Shiva/Shakti
HAPPY NEW YEAR! HERE'S TO NOT KNOWING
JANUARY 1ST, 2009:
LETTING GO: MAKE SPACE FOR WHAT YOU DESIRE
DECEMBER 17TH 2008: Weird but sometimes we overwhelm ourselves on purpose. I don't understand it, especially the "on purpose" part but I've done it too. In my life this has led to illness, to a diminishing of my spirit and a general malaise where I was just "getting through it".
We can use the practice of yoga to really be kind to ourselves. To TRY LESS.
Now that might seem like apathy but it is not at all. Yoga is wise energy management. So consider where in your life you are trying too hard and leaking energy, depleting yourself, now ask yourself the same thing in a pose. The key here is the idea of being in the pose. For it is not about getting into and out of the pose but the pose CHANGE YOU while you are in it. This is where you get to try less and soften the edges.
As you know I love the Thesaurus and I looked up the word TRY. It said Struggle, Strive, Attempt. So today go easy on yourself STRUGGLE LESS, STRIVE LESS, ATTEMPT LESS AND ENJOY MORE! Another way of seeing trying less is as a means to fight less, to meet challenges not with fists raised armor on quills raised but meet lifes challenges as they are in a more peaceful way, arms down.
Swami Satchidananda says, Look within, if you don't see the peace inside you you won't be able to see the peace outside. You have to have that peaceful vision because it is you who sees the world outside." So try less, receive more, fight less, relax more. Thinking of you, Silvia
SURRENDER: ISHVARA PRANIDHANA
AUGUST 26TH, 2008: I am going on holiday tomorrow. There are so many things out of my control on this trip so I have been meditating a lot about surrender. I want it to all go perfectly for my partner, even more than for me. Yet it really can only be what it will be and nothing more. So I have been repeating this mantra: “I feel my heart opening as the weight of my life lifts off my shoulders.”
On the mat we can really treat challenging yoga poses as microcosms of life's difficulties, and therefore really great opportunities to practice the art of surrender. The cool thing is that the more we practice the more we become able to recognize tension in a pose as a sign; holding and gripping are signs that our connection with our own hearts is lessening. When we see this early warning sign we can then offer our tension back to the Source, emptying and surrendering again. Realizing we don’t have to do this by ourselves you know.
As a result we experience a shift…A deepening of our breath and expansion of our inner strength in even the most difficult of situations. I hope through the power, beauty and truth of this practice you open your heart to grace in every moment, no matter what enters your path! BE COURAGE. BE PRESENT. -Silvia
When you surrender to what is
and so become fully present,
the past ceases to have any power.
The realm of being, which had been obscured
by the mind, then opens up.
Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you,
An unfathomable sense of peace.
And within that peace, there is great joy.
And within that joy, there is love.
And at the innermost core, there is the sacred,
The immeasurable. That which cannot be named.
--Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of NowAUGUST 26TH, 2008:
RELEASING LEADS TO FREEDOM
JULY 21ST, 2008: I was meditating on remaining light hearted by letting go of the way we think things are supposed to work. Lately I've had a lot of practice...For instance, I was organized to go away on holiday for my birthday, didn't work out so we rebooked for the week after, still didn't work out. Everytime I drive Route 60 or the Edens the time it takes is always different due to the heavy construction. I just never know how long the drive is going to be. So what can we do? Get mad, get sad, give up? NOPE.
We face the challenges headon and promote even more change by letting go and releasing our expectations. Summer is a perfect time for this: just like we shed clothes, we clean out our garages, we change purses, we wear new nail polish colors and hopefully we learn to release past emotions that no longer serve us. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes not so much.
But no matter how it all happens the more we are able to LET GO the more space we create for new stuff, new ideas, new feelings, new friends, new thoughts, new love! At the heart of all this space there is FREEDOM. So today whatever has bogged you down endeavor to courageously clear the clutter of stubborness or frustration or sadness so you have the FREEDOM to explore your life more fully. In this space we gracefully evolve towards recognizing our highest potential!
TOPIC: PACING OURSELVES TO ENJOY LIFE MORE!
Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to this when he writes "In the West we are very goal oriented. We know where we want to go and we are very directed in getting there. This may be useful, but often we forget to enjoy ourselves along the route."
His words remind us that LIFE IS NOT A RACE. We don't have to RUSH on the mat or off the mat. A pacing that allows us to savor life lets us be more fully present. We don't want to go at such a break neck speed that everything is a blur. We are in charge of our lives so we can choose to live making an easy EFFORT, that means without strain. You too can work in a way so you can LIVE more fully! So today keep these powerful Mantras handy and repeat them to yourself as needed:
I won’t wear my effort on my face
I don’t let my effort overwhelm my breath
I pace myself to enjoy my life practice