Inhale (1, 2, 3 ,4 ,5)
Exhale (1, 2, 3 ,4, 5)
What is it about this most simple task that has the ability to calm, relax and bring us into the present moment and yet also is impossibly difficult at times! To just stop, breathe and be present. There are countless books exploring this topic but I wanted to explore what role the rhythm of our breath and activities have in bringing forth a meditative state, insights and inspiration.
As I began to explore the similarities between my two loves, yoga and running, I found that it is in fact the repetition that can relax the mind. Attention to breath is the primary focus of meditation and an essential focus of both running and yoga alike. Although the breathing pattern may be different, this essential element can help us change our state of consciousness. In running, I have found that this rhythmic motion often leads to my greatest sense of clarity and inspiration. Running gives me an endorphin high and gets me organized to accomplish the endless tasks of mother, wife and entrepreneur.
In yoga, I find that the breath again leads me into a meditation but in that there is a deep sense of relaxation, connection, wholeness, and grace. There are of course two types of experiences, those in which you know what will happen next and those, which you don’t. I would argue both are equally important. For instance, when taking a yoga class in which I know and can predict the series of postures and pacing, I can easily slip into a more relaxed state and my deep interior landscape. It is these experiences I need when I am feeling more introverted or want to ponder difficult life decisions. On the other hand, it is the new experience that evokes profound attention to the present.
Recently I had the pleasure of exploring yoga on the paddleboard with the Floating Yogis. New to paddle boarding, I had no idea how this whole experience would go? I am a true believer in trying new things and moving outside your comfort zone, so as much as I knew it would probably be a lesson in humility I also knew it would offer a new lesson and life experience. I wondered whether I would be able to find this meditative state with so many other concerns (like become soaked in the lagoon) and would this be more of a novelty experience? What I discovered couldn’t have been further from this. The focus needed while rocking on the paddleboard gave me no choice but to be present. Feeling the sun on my back, being out in nature, and creating space for myself was the treasure of this moment. As we laid down on the boards into Shavasana, I found the rhythm again in the gentle rocking of the waves and for a moment not needing to be or do anything else but simply “be”.
It is this rhythm that drives and balances my days between “doing” and rest, the giving and receiving, the known and the unknown.
So I ask you, what is your rhythm?
What is it that connects your days, your motivation, and your greater purpose?
Seek it, find it, and cherish it.
In Peter Gabriel words:
“The rhythm is around me
The rhythm has control
The rhythm is inside me
The rhythm has my soul”
The Rhythm of the Heat
Images by Epic Photojournalism