Breathe… one!

July 8, 2013

photograph by David Charron

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I’m sitting on my deck overlooking the Long Island Sound, watching the waves roll softly onto the sand. There’s a breeze, but it seems to be pushing the intense summer heat around rather than cooling me! Still the clear blue sky, the sugar maple shading the picnic table, all of it inviting. So I sit sipping my usual pint of chilled, thirst quenching, pure, tart and sweet aloe vera, cranberry and apple juice cocktail… and contemplate.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks traveling and teaching. I’ve met people from different walks of life, meditating, practicing yoga, cooking, eating, conversing, and breathing with me, looking for answers to a healthier way of living for themselves and those close to them. I have felt resistance and openness, but mostly resistance for fear of failure to a lifestyle change that comes with time, and therefore patience, when everything around us is about convenience and instant gratification.

I teach breathing through meditation, yoga and cooking. This may sound weird, I realize, but it’s something that we, by enlarge, do unconsciously. Our breath, more often than not, is shallow and full of tension. Our bodies tight with aches and pains as a result, and our minds filled with thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow. Rarely, if ever, do we embrace the present moment where true happiness is said to exist. A friend recently noticed, “wow, you are wide open,” pointing at my sternum, my heart center. In conversation about nothing and everything with laughter and seriousness, he asked “what do you like?” I placed the palm of my hand on his sternum, his heart center. Openness is what I like and seek in people, their ability to embrace, appreciate and be present.

When breathing deeply and slowing down the pace, you notice colors, textures, and flavors, and how positively your “temple” responds to healthier choices.

It’s taken me a long time to become open, rejecting fear along the path, and while there is still a fair amount of fear about this and that—I am human after all—it gets easier with time.

I have sought balance through yoga and conscious living, my focus calmness in the face of adversity, because there is not one day that goes by without my encountering some kind of obstacle whether physical, mental, or emotional. And so I count my breathing, chanting in my head “breathe… one! breathe… two!…” and so on, inhaling and exhaling deeply to quiet my mind, relaxing my body while diving deeply into consciousness, and cultivating peace, love and a sense of contentment when the world around me is full of temptation and therefore noise. Indeed, I have stood on my mat, about to drop backwards into backbend, only to sprout back up fidgeting to realign my body, my teacher looking at my feet and reminding me, “that’s just noise in your mind. Stop fidgeting, BREATHE and drop.” Trust in yourself and you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

-written with gratitude to the folks at Lake Austin Spa Resort and their guests for giving me the platform to teach breathing through meditation, yoga and mindful cooking during The Yoga of Food™ event, which took place June 23-26, 2013. I look forward to returning to Lake Austin to teach from December 12-14, 2013.

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