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Breath, part 2

What is it about finding your breath that is so hard? Look, I just wrote about this. I make it my intention about every other time. I really focus on finding the breath. I practice breathing when I’m driving, when I’m sitting, and when I’m trying to get the twins to take a nap. And then in class, I stop. Every. Single. Time.

Here’s how it goes. I’m good for about a minute. Maybe longer on some days, usually I’m loud through the first flow. But then, the speed kicks up, and I concentrate on just getting in and out of poses and by the time we wind up in down dog, I’m holding my breath again.

I think I’m stuck. But what I can’t figure out is why? A few days ago in the 6 am class, Brian had us do an exercise that proved why breath is so important. We did a forehead to knee posture that started with our hand connecting our knee to forehead (those two are kind of a long way apart). By the time, we’d taken three or four deep inhale / exhales, we had our forehead touching our knee without our hand. And it’s not like I don’t believe a teacher when he/she says each inhale lengthens and each exhale deepens, but I was kind of amazed. I can get into those pose if I really pull and lengthen through my hamstring and back, but usually I’m really pulling my hamstring tight. This morning, no pulling. Just forehead to knee.

So there’s proof it works and proof it’s important. But I’m still stuck on why I can’t keep the breath up. If I’m honest, this is a pretty long time struggle. On long runs, I start with a great breath and end up sucking air. I ran cross country in high school and college (sidenote: I wasn’t very good), and even then I remember just gutting it out to finish—not breathing deep and slow like the winner. I don’t want to be stuck though. I’d really like to get this thing right. And if I remember that yoga is a practice, that it’s not (ever?) perfection, than I have lots of chances to get it right eventually. So I’m giving myself grace, not asking for perfection—but not enough grace that I’m lazy and stop trying.