Today’s theme was brought to me by breath.  And it served as an AMAZING reminder how powerful breath can be.

I had one student attend my morning class and as with all private sessions, I asked where she would like to focus.  Her response – breath and core.  I sat her in meditation and asked for her to breathe deeply.  After picking up on “catches” in her breath, I asked how she felt when she inhaled.  She was sick with pneumonia a year ago and was still trying to get her lung capacity back up.

I worked with her on expanding her lungs, sitting behind her and reading where the prana (energy) was getting stuck.  At one point, I placed my fingers deeply into her collarbone and asked her to send breath there.  She could but with obvious and literal pain.  For the rest of the practice, I encouraged her to stay just under that pain cut threshold but to inhale slowly.

Cut to me, offering an adjustment in Warrior I, less than 30 minutes later.  She had hiked her shoulders to her ears and I was helping her find a place of comfort there.  When I felt a clear, unrestrained breath hit her collarbone.  When I asked her about it, she purposefully inhaled to that spot again and said “It doesn’t hurt.”

The end of my day concluded with a Forrest class centered entirely in my lungs.  I could feel the expansiveness of my front, back, left, and right side as I inhaled.  I felt my ribs expanding, allowing the life force to flow easier into my very being.

Breath is one of those things that we take for granted.  Our bodies inhale and exhale without us actually having to think.  But what happens when we do – when we slow our inhale down and allow our exhale to just release?  We find space.  We find calm.  We find a way and a reason to actually begin to breathe freely again.  And to let some shit go.

Forrest Yoga is NOTHING without breath.  It’s through breath that we learn to ride the edge; we learn to stalk that which is holding us back and either snuggle in close with it and make it our friend or we release it with an amazing lion’s breath.  The roar from a really cleansing lion’s breath is beyond amazing.  But it only happens when we breathe into a space where we want to let something go.

So breath.  #justbreathe  Sounds easy.  But a phrase I’ve used in many a yoga class is “When the going gets tough, the tough start to breathe.”