Mind the gap!

Category : Asanas (Postures), General advice, Philosophy 15th June 2015

mind the gap2
Inside Yoga 136 (15/6/15)

Breathing is something we have been doing since the moment we were born, yet when we start focusing on the breath, we discover that this precious resource, which keeps us alive, has not only been neglected, but it has been cut short, it is shallow, and erratic!

Practising yoga and meditating on the breath teaches us to slow the breath down, to deepen its flow and to develop a smooth constant flow of air. And every time we forget about the breathing all we have to do is take a deep breath and start again.
Breath is the key which holds this yoga practice together, as without it, not much else is possible! As we cultivate our breath awareness and our ability to breathe evenly and steadily, we also notice the gap between our breath.
This is an important part of meditation; observing the moment between our inhalation and exhalation is where there is a greater degree of stillness. At this point, when the breath has momentarily paused, we can notice our inner stillness, perhaps the only sound from within us is our heart beat?
We do not need to hold the breath, simply watch the fleeting gap between our breath. This practice helps us to increase our concentration skills, because if we are to notice the gap we need to be watching the inhalation and exhalation in order to catch the gap. It is like watching a stick float down a river or stream, we know we must keep an eye on it, otherwise we will lose track of its movement.
Watching our breath is also a good way of fostering as understanding that nothing ends, there is no beginning, and nothing comes from nothing, but it is all part of a continual flow. The inhalation, the gap, and exhalation are all part of the same flow of breath; and it is our breath that keeps us going.
Concentrating on our breath teaches us to be present and self-aware; showing us how to be aware of the present, the here and now. Everything we do happens in the present, even if we find ourselves thinking about the past and future more than anything else, it is all taking place in the present, so why not focus on this?
And by minding the gap, we can become more present, and more connected with ourselves.
Take a breath.
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