Breathe, You Have Arrived.
This is the sign that greeted me when I arrived at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health last weekend. I was there on a Kundalini yoga retreat. I practice and teach this form of yoga – not for my career, but probably because of it. What I mean is, it’s the pressures of life that fueled me to search for ways to unwind or better cope with my challenges.
The yoga lifestyle has given me tools and a way of being in the world that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t practice it. I teach yoga to master it. There is nothing like having to teach something that makes you really learn it.
First, and foremost, practicing yoga and meditation have given me a different relationship and experience of myself in relation to others and the world around me. “Breathe. You have arrived,” is geared toward people coming from the world to indicate they can now let go and relax because they are taking a break from it.
I saw so many ways to interpret this sign. When I pause to breathe deeply, I shift my energy to respond versus to react. Breathe, you’ve arrived at your destination in life – achieved what you hope to achieve. Once you’ve achieved a goal, you set your sights on a new goal. So, there is a never-ending sense that there is always something more to do or be.
After having a consistent practice for a number of years now, I finally really get why it is so important to breathe IN THE PROCESS of arriving, in the process of life. This enables us to be in the flow of life. We live in a culture that cultivates the necessity that achievement equals stress. Somehow if you aren’t stressed you can’t be achieving something of challenge or importance. When you are too stressed, it becomes near impossible to be really creative.
Some of the best advice I ever received is, you better ENJOY the work versus the title or thought of the work, otherwise you will be miserable and ultimately not effective.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately – what do I really enjoy? What excites me? What would I do even if I didn’t get paid for it?
I came back from this retreat feeling really refreshed, able to sink deeper into my practice and my life. Paradoxically it is the consistency and discipline of the practice that frees and lightens me up.
Reflection question: Where do you need to be breathing more deeply in your life? How can you be more present and lighter to the process of your life, not just focused on the end goal?
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