Articles       fitness

Breath and awareness- Messengers of Yoga

Nikita

Posted on Feb 6, 2020 #fitness

When I manage to successfully draw my awareness to my breath and its effect on my body, I feel one with it. I am my breath.

During my second 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I stayed back one day to ask the teacher about pain. I felt intense pain in my back/ thigh/ ankle. Just as the meditation method, she said pain is also a sensation - how can I try to maintain equanimity with it? Can I try to stay with the pain, really focus on it? Does it have a texture? Does it have a radius? An epicentre? Sure enough, in my practice thereafter, initially it felt as though the more I focused on the pain, the worse it got… until it didn’t. Something happened, the pain started to dissipate, almost as if just sending my awareness and my breath there gave it the attention it needed then its message was delivered. It could now calm down and just be.

Yoga is similar in that sense. Although, it’s important to know the difference between discomfort (and how to work with it) and pain (and how to avoid hurting your body). How can you make the tiny muscles in your foot to relax completely when you can’t even feel them? With your breath and awareness of course. A lot can happen just by sending these two messengers there. They reassure and allow relaxation. Part of this practice is getting off auto-pilot. We’re not aware of harmful habits and thought patterns that affect us. This practice is about tuning in and becoming aware of patterns.

Ten years ago, I was looking for a fitness activity to support my physical development so that I could focus on my dance training. I tried the gym but felt that its benefits were only temporary- I felt myself deflate like a balloon every time I stopped using machines to exercise my muscles. I had also started having regular backaches. I knew I needed something more holistic. Something that wasn’t just temporary and for the external physicality. I went for my first Yoga class (it was also the first time I meditated) and I remember feeling completely different at the end of the session. Something had shifted. I felt great- mentally and physically. I was hooked!

Over the years, the physical practice was an entryway to something deeper - simply being in the present moment. Meditation has helped deepen this practice. This awareness practice continues to be a catalyst in my personal growth journey. My yoga practice grounds me in my body, the only reality I really have. Everything I experience is through this body. Learning to listen to it and respect it has been a long but rewarding journey.

2018 was a year of big changes for me, I quit my corporate job and finally decided to live my true calling- working with the body. I pursued my Teacher Training with an amazing teacher who could not stress enough on the importance of safe practice. I grant her the credit for my strong foundation in the importance of accurate cueing and body awareness.

I feel immensely lucky to be able to offer this gift to others now. I hope to help more people stay in touch with their body through breath and mindfulness.

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