If you have anxiety or you need to take a deep breath, there's no room for your breath. So, the worst thing you can do is tell somebody when they have anxiety is to take a deep breath, because you can't. Then you get mad or whatever it is, is your go to. Right?. That's what there is to do, exhale. You empty and what's left is you, what's left is peace, what's left is the soul, what's left is clarity. But we're always like, get more. You know? You can't, there's no room. Just as a side note, because I do it even as a teacher, I'm like close your eyes, take a deep breath. As a complete side note for yourself, ignore that direction and exhale first. It is the way to get a deeper breath.
Now we'll shift ... I was thinking about the word nourish. We were talking a little bit about this yesterday in class, but the word nourish, and to use our practice as nourishment, because often I think we come to the mat to try to fix ourselves or to try to get rid of something, but to nourish ourselves is completely different.
Click the Read More button to continue .....
So, the first step to nourishing is the exhale. So, we'll kind of keep with that, but when I was looking up that definition of nourishment and it said that one of the definitions is to promote the growth of. When we think about nourishment we've been talking the last few weeks about the springtime. And in Ayurveda it's the Kapha time they call it, it's heavy, it's grounding, it's planting. It can be dirty and muddy and like, you know, to really get in there and to build what you want is through that nourishment. And Kapha is the building of healthy tissue, the building of a healthy organism.
I think we're always trying to focus on what we don't want to be. Does that make sense? I don't want to be anxious, I don't want to be irritable, I don't want to be stressed. But nourishment, it's not an ignoring, I'm not telling us to suppress. You're changing the energy. So nourishment is really about supporting your growth, right? Growing the things you want to grow. Kindness, compassion, patience, love, acceptance, on and on.
Let me read this: “Ojas is the essential energy for the body and mind that is the result from eating pure and nourishing foods. In the practice of Ayurveda, Ojas is thought to be responsible for vitality, strength, health, long life, immunity and mental wellness.” So the Ojas is that thing you can't describe. Do you know what I'm saying? It's like the result of all the other things is the Ojas. And that's ultimately the sign of real, true nourishing health.
The seed or location of Ojas is within the body, at the heart, which is a nice reminder for us because we're always focused on the head. In other cultures, when you say head, they think heart. But when we say head, we really focus on the head. So to live from the heart is the Ojas.
As we think about nourishing, we'll start today with hands on the heart just to remind ourselves that this is really the seat. They call it the seat of the soul, the heart. So you can take left hand, let's do left hand on the center of your chest. And then right hand over, and allow the eyes to close. And just take a couple breaths. Let's exhale completely. Exhale. Get it out, okay? And then allow the inhales to happen naturally.
So if you want to focus on breath when you practice yoga, if you want to focus on breath in your life, focus on the exhale. The inhales then will have space, the inhales will happen naturally. Just keep practicing and paying attention to the emptying.
Allow your hands to remain there for a moment and feel that connection, the conscious connection, to you. The practice of yoga is really ultimately about that. You get to be you. Move from that heart center, from the seat. And as you move through your practice, to remember to hold that intention of nourishing, promoting your own inner growth. Take deep care of yourself in this moment.