As my morning yoga session was closing, the teacher said something in passing, but the words stuck with me.
As we prepared to take our final posture, savasana, she whispered, “Breathe like you love yourself.”
What does that even mean?
Instead of total body relaxation during savasana, my body was relaxed, but my mind was racing. I wanted to know how to breathe like you love yourself. The teacher didn’t explain, so I knew I would have to find my own meaning.
Everyone knows how to breathe; it is a natural occurrence. The average human takes between 12 and 16 breaths per minute. And if you are a fellow yogi, you know the vital role breathing plays in our practice. Connecting to our breath allows us to block out distractions, go deeper in the postures, connect with the energy within, and, most importantly, center us in the present moment.
The present moment, the now, that’s all there ever is.
Taking mindful, conscious, deliberate breaths is how you do it. When you love something, you don’t rush through it, do you? No, you want it to last forever; you savor it, draw it out, so that it can last as long as possible, right?
Every moment we are given is a gift. Just because I believe in the afterlife doesn’t mean I am rushing to get there. I want to stick around here for as long as possible. T.KV. Desikachar said, “The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.”
How do you feel about yourself? We must examine all parts of self and love them all equally, the light, the dark, and all the beautiful bits in between.
In this way, we can truly begin to breathe like we love ourselves, not only in yoga but everywhere.
“A yogi measures the span of life by the number of breaths, not by the number of years.” ~ Swami Sivananda