I took this photo this weekend. My kids were pulling one way, and we were with friends that I wanted to keep up with. But I saw the horizon line, and I had to stop and had to shoot this. I keep coming back to this photograph. There’s something about it. The colors. The shapes. The depth. It’s like the Earth is breathing. In, deeply to the horizon line. A pause in the second of sunshine. Out and up through the clouds. Again.
There is breath.
And then there is breath.
There’s the breath that keeps me alive. There’s breathing for the sake of filling my lungs or oxygenating my blood. That’s one kind.
But the kind of breath I’m talking about is more than that. It fills the lungs, but it also stills the mind. It reaches the organs, but it also creates power.
My yoga teachers call it Ujjayi. And they tell me that sounds like the ocean in the back of my throat, like waves crash with each exhale. And when I flow in yoga, I look to my Ujjayi breath to connect how, why, and where I move. I look to my breath to make my movement more intentional, creating purpose beyond folding my body in different ways.
I’ve been focusing on my breath while I practice, of course.
What I didn’t realize until this weekend, though, is that I’ve been carrying my breath with me for when I need it most. When things get anxious, I find myself breathing. Nothing else. Just breathe.
I can hear it, the ocean in the back of my throat. It’s gentle and consistent and comforting. And sometimes, it’s just what I need.
Yoga has provided me with this reminder. The perfect reminder that I need to stop sometimes, shift my focus inward, and just breathe.