Hot Yoga Session 9: How to Breathe

This was originally posted in January 2012 to document my 30 days of hot yoga. I was recently inspired to be more self-reflective after a terrible flu season which sent me to the ER twice. Doctor’s orders were simple: start taking care of yourself (again) or you’ll need surgery. Well, that’s all I needed to propel me into living a healthier, more personally sustainable life amidst balancing a busy career, volunteering, and figuring things out with our new baby.

Join me here, on Sundays, where I re-blog reflections from 30 days of hot yoga and hopefully inspire you to embrace change positively with passion and find opportunities for personal growth wherever you can find it.

living it up for my 30th birthday

living it up for my 30th birthday

Following a fantastic birthday bash last night (thanks to everyone that came!), I was feeling a little (ahem) less than stellar this morning. In fact, as I nursed myself back to health in the bathtub, I was reminded of something that was mentioned in my first post: the decisions you make today will inevitably come out in your practice tomorrow. Wow, how WISE of me… if only I had thought between the sparkling martinis and the endless fried snacks I ate last night…

One thing that I have actually learned in these 8 straight days of yoga is how to breathe. Yoga is kind of amazing like that.

  • After three days, I was holding my “ohms” {we start and end each practice with three ohms, it’s actually quite unifying} nearly as long as the instructor.
  • After 4 days, breathing allowed be to get deeper in twists.
  • By 6 days, I was able to find space and breathe through the fire building in my shoulders as we “rested” in downward dog.
  • And after 8 days, I was breathing my way through a very terrible hangover while clinging to the bathtub for dear life.

You could say that it is a shame that it took me abusing my insides to realize the true power of breathing, but I say, hell, now I know it REALLY works! Breathing didn’t just heal an upset stomach, it gave me an opportunity to go to brunch with some good friends and spend time catching up.

Today’s practice focused on relaxation. We laid on the floor and experienced subtle twists and movements in an incredibly quiet room. We rested on blocks. We kept our eyes closed and listened to our breathing. Our instructor guided us through what it means to be grounded, whole, and present.

And it was, for all intensive purposes, the BEST thing I could have done for myself recovering from a rough morning. If I could make a recommendation to anyone experiencing pain (self-inflicted or otherwise), relaxing yoga will do amazing things for your body. You may be hesitant because resting seems like good medicine, but “rest” in itself has many forms. After an hour of low-energy, conscious stretching on the ground (use a video if there is no class available), I promise you will feel like a whole new person with a whole new body. And I can vouch for the effectiveness of relaxing yoga, because this is the third time it has cured a hangover for me.

Here is an article on 10 poses that can help with relaxation, stress relief, and have an added benefit of strengthening your back. The article is write “for brides” but I’m pretty sure other people are also allowed to do them too. Enjoy!