When I was living in Gainesville, I learned a style of yoga called Ashtanga.
It consisted of learning a set sequence of postures and practicing them without being led by a teacher.
The breath was the focus and it determined the time spent in each posture (5 breaths in each posture).
It was a powerful practice, one in which I still incorporate parts of into my home yoga practice today.
The practice of using the breath to deepen into a posture has stuck with me.
There are many poses in the primary series (the first series of postures in the Ashtanga tradition) that require you to contort your body into positions that are really uncomfortable.
In uncomfortable postures, my initial reaction was to want to get out of the posture as quickly as possible.
But… the practice offered me the opportunity to breath into the discomfort to create more expansion and range of movement.
There were certain postures initially where I could barely take one full breath.
With practice, these postures eventually became comfortable for me and I could take 5 full deep breaths.
Over time and with practice, I created more space in the contracted state I was experiencing.
Lately, I’ve been applying this same practice into the moments of contraction that I experience in any given day.
This same practice is relevant and applicable in the contracted moments I experience in my life.
Moments when I feel irritated and annoyed.
Moments when I feel frustrated and angry.
Moments when I feel anxious and stressed out.
Moments when I feel afraid and tight.
Yes… moments when it feels like there is not enough space to breath.
These moments give me the opportunity to practice…
How can I create more expansion in this moment?
How can I breathe more fully into the discomfort?
How can I practice staying with the unpleasant so that I can increase my range of what I’m able to hold?
Yes, how can I expand my range?
This seems to be my work.
How about you?
How do you work with contracted states?
What would be possible for you if you created more space?
As always, sending you support on this journey.
In Ultimate Support of You!