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Last night I laid down in my bed and for the first time all day I took a slow, deep breath. Immediately, I remembered what it feels like to be in my body. That one deep breath became a turning point.
I’d been running around like crazy all day long, frantically trying to check things off my to-do list: Go grocery shopping. Make baby food. Get ahead on work. Plan out my next yoga class sequence. Call family members. Answer emails. Make dinner. Do dishes. Laundry—there’s always so much laundry! Plan for the week ahead. Do yoga. Go for a walk. Relax. (Yes, I do write relax on my to-do list.) I didn’t get it all done—especially the relaxing one. By the end of the day, I sunk into my bed and I realized I hadn’t really enjoyed any part of my day. I had accomplished a lot, but I wasn’t really present for any of it. I hadn’t been living my yoga.
I hate when that happens.
Thank goodness yoga teaches us that it’s never too late to start over. Right then and there, I decided to make the most of my last waking moments. I let the air filter in through my nostrils and I was mindful as it filled my chest, causing my collarbones to rise. I put my fingertips on my rib cage and felt the expansiveness as my mid-section filled with air. I imagined a balloon as I felt my belly fill. I exhaled fully, pushing every little molecule away. I took several more deep breaths, and I drifted off to sleep imagining my breath washing over me like ocean waves at the beach. It was exactly what I needed.
We all have days when we aren’t as mindful as we’d like. We rush through our daily tasks without stopping to feel the sun on our skin, tastes the flavors on our tongues, or appreciate the vivid colors we pass. Sometimes, we just forget our yoga practice. But that’s what’s so lovely about yoga: It meets us where we are. It finds us when we need it the most. Last night it found me as I was drifting off to sleep. I’m always reminding my students to bring their attention back to their breath, but sometimes it’s the breath that brings our attention back to our practice, back to the present moment, and back to ourselves.