yoga & change: finding breath through life’s turns

Goddess Pose, in Taylor Tank and Paradise Tight


Breath and change. Two of the most consistent aspects of life, but also sometimes the hardest. In my life, change and transition tends to manifest in being overwhelming. With that overwhelming feeling comes shorter breath and shrinking of the lungs as I hunch down. It becomes this constant cycle of that inevitable change, being overwhelmed, and then hunching shortening my breath.

It is here that I let yoga intercede.

With yoga at the forefront of my mind, I am reminded to make my breath purposeful. This breath is always with me, it is here through the change. Yoga recognizes the power of breath in connecting the mind and the body. Breath is the tool to bring those two aspects of self, together.

In yoga, we link our breath with movement. With an inhale you lengthen spine, with an exhale you open chest through a twist. An inhale brings you to lift heart, your exhale brings your shoulders down your back relaxing neck. Knowing that just a few poses and moments to re-center can make all the difference, I often set aside just a few minutes to take a few postures and focus on breathe before bed. When I am feeling overwhelmed by life and change, my mind-body tends to gravitate towards grounding postures such as :

Child’s Pose or Balasana

In Child’s Pose start in table top, bring big toes together, allow knees to go out wide, and sink tailbone toward heels. Forehead can come to rest on the ground or on pillow/blanket. Child’s pose releases back pain, opens through hips and thighs, and helps relieve stress and fatigue. Often, I stretch my arms out long, finding space through ribs, and connecting my hands with the earth.

Goddess Pose or Utkata Konasana

In Goddess, start in a standing posture and then bring feet out much wider than hips with toes out to a 45 degree angle and bend at the knees. As you sink deeper into knees, tuck tailbone under upper body and engage abs. Goddess Pose strengthens the entire lower body and core, opens hips, and helps with focus. Often, I bring hands to heart in this pose, finding a little organic movement through legs, feeling that strength, power, and inner goddess re-emerge.   

Reclined Bound Angle Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana

In Reclined Bound Angle Pose start on your back and then bend knees bringing bottom of your feet to the mat, allow knees to slowly fall wide with the bottoms of your feet coming to touch. This pose stretches through inner thighs, opens outside of hips, and calms the nervous system. When feeling overwhelmed I often will bring one hand to heart and the other to belly, feeling that powerful breath moving through my body.

Through yoga, I am reminded that with time comes change. And I want that change of opening further, sinking deeper, and slowing breath. Yoga is about finding that fluid breath with movement and releasing those stagnant juices that accumulate within.  As I recognize that overwhelming feeling building, I intentionally allow yoga to intercede embracing the good parts of change and allowing breath to bring space into my mind-body.