Your attention, please

“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.” ― Gregory Maguire, A Lion Among Men

My teacher, Kurt, introduced me to the power of the breath. His philosophy, that I have built my life’s work on the foundation of, is that if you can control the breath, you can control the mind. And, thus began my mindfulness training. That was almost eight years ago and, I can tell you, that it’s still a daily challenge. I don’t know what I expected. I think I thought it would get easier and that if I practiced, I would “get better.” I soon learned that my mindfulness would be like my pirouettes in ballet: that while I understood the theory, the technical aspects, the challenge was in the doing– in the living of it. These thoughts were confirmed when I sat 50 feet from Pema Chödrön and heard her say that she too struggled to be present.

The breath is the foundation of our yoga and life practice. Conscious breathing draws us into the moment; it slows us down. It takes us out of our very busy heads and puts us into our bodies. When we take our poses breath at a time, we realize our ability to stay in discomfort. And, it transfers off of our mats in the same way.

However, here’s what we need to know: it’s imperfect, and that’s ok.

We will have days where we can reign our minds in with an inhale and an exhale. There are days that our minds are wild horses. And all of that is ok because mindfulness is the awareness of it and the awareness is enough… I love that.

So, breathe in and breathe out and know that giving your attention to that is enough.


Written by Erica Denman