Respiration is defined as “a single breath”. And in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the great Yoga philosophy texts, Swami Swatmarama proposes that our life is gifted a certain number of inhales and exhales. The slower and more consistent our breath becomes, the younger we will feel and hopefully the longer we will live. Perhaps the key to the feeling like a child is to Breathe Yourself Young.
When breath departs, so too does life. Therefore, regulate the breath. - Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Ch.2:S.3
Now, most young people I know are far less concerned with slowing down and living longer than they are growing up and earning more experiences. In our ambitious and creative society, who’s to blame them? Many adults even seek the fountain of youth in the rush of daredevil experiences, surround themselves with the young, the hip, and the hot, or press themselves into a fast-paced life all to recapture the energy and vitality of younger days.
I see this as one of the most dangerous imbalances in our culture: we have forgotten the sweetness and simplicity of slowing down in order to wake up and view the world with constant surprise. This wakefulness, for me, has become the key to staying young. After all, anyone who has been enraptured by a Spring blossom or has rejoiced in the ocean waves or has stared into the eyes of a beloved child knows just how fast everything is always moving and changing.
The truth is, you don’t have to go anywhere to experience the ultimate rush of the world moving through you.
The yoga practice gifts us a simple way of connecting us to our life force. One of yoga’s eight limbs is Pranayama or breath awareness. The breath is a magic tool that links or external world to our internal world. My favorite word for these practices is “respiration,” because of what it implies. Yes, it may sound technical… but, if we look at the two sides of our breath from this angle, an Exhale becomes an Expiration, and an Inhale becomes an Inspiration. There is much in myself and my world that has reached it’s expiration date… and this is a motivating practice to allow it to let go to make room for something new.
On this Summer Solstice, we celebrate the embrace of light- we are blessed with more light than darkness. What will you usher in? For a playful and peaceful breath practice, join me for this next episode of FLY TV. I hope to inspire stillness, listening, and magical inspiration for You and your family. Enjoy!
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With so much love and appreciation for the Wonder that YOU are,