The other night I was working out at my neighborhood studio and the instructor said “Take a deep breath in and on your way up, breathe it out making a “Hssssshhhhh” sound. Following his instructions I started focusing on my breath and aligning my breath with my movement. However, before I knew it, my mind wandered away to a few different points in my past which have had a very profound effect on me in ways more than one.
In chronological order:
- It was the first month of my then new job, ~4 years ago and I was on a technical discussion with my engineering director. I started the call by asking him “How are you doing this morning?” to which he replied “I am doing great, I woke up this morning.” I chuckled a little and thought to myself, ‘Wow!! I’ve never heard that before.’ and went on to tell him “That’s a great way to start one’s day.” After the call it got me thinking about how we take our breath for granted. It could end at any time, yet we do not appreciate every morning that we wake up with that thought of gratitude, the thought of being thankful for being alive, alive to take another breath and yet another after that. Instead, here we are thinking about the day, work, material things, etc… My life hasn’t quite been the same since and I have him to thank!
- My mum and I were practicing Yoga together one morning and she observed that I was having some difficulty with flexibility and holding postures that morning. She asked me to go back to downward dog position and told me to close my eyes. Then she said the following, “Focus on your breath and as you’re trying to elongate your spine breathe oxygen into every little space you can, the little gaps between your vertebra and your joints, feel the breath as it flows through your body.” This has helped me so much, not just in my practice but also generally when I feel anxious, I try to breathe in oxygen to every part of my body and it helps me calm down.
- This past thanksgiving I attended my very first Vipassana meditation course (that deserves its own post). It was intense/brutal/life-changing for me. Amongst the few gems I took away from this course, one was – “Only the breath is real.” Goenka ji, in one of his discourses, said “Only the breath is real, everything else is a creation of our imagination.” That got me thinking once again about the profound truth behind that sentence. Of course, only the breath is real, everything else is a projection of our thoughts. The world we see is our perception, created from our thoughts, opinions, ideas and imagination.
Thanks to my meditation practice, I caught myself (my mind) wandering and brought back my awareness to my breath and my movement and fixed myself to the present moment and I came back to it now to share it with you all.
Personally, these incidents have been very eye-opening for me in so many ways and they apply not just in my daily life but have helped me evolve so much more. I’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to share in the comments below.