Thursday, January 5, 2012

It all begins with an exhale

Thanks to Cyndi Lee for sending this timely reminder my way via email. Also posted at Hands to Heart

Find a comfortable seat and let’s begin.  Place your attention on your breathing and notice your exhale.  Let your mind ride out on the breath and mix with space.  Rest in the gap.  Trust that the inhale will come in naturally.  Repeat without reproducing.  

This is how it all begins; with an exhale.

Every life and every death begins with an exhale.  We come into the world with a cry and go out with a sigh, each of these expressions floating on the out-breath.  

Then, comes the inhale.  Our natural urge to nourish, to draw in prana, is how we feed ourselves through inspiration, activity, contemplation and community.  This is the arising aspect of vinyasa.

And in between there is a tiny suspension with tremendous potential and that is where we abide.  It’s not so easy because it requires open attention that is relaxed.  It’s not the same as waiting and not the same as doing nothing.  There is richness here in staying steady without holding on.

And then we let go again.  Dissolving is an essential part of our practice.  It seems like the exhale might be an ending but it’s always a beginning.  It is the only way the gate opens for the arising to happen.  

This practice is the ground.  After doing this formal practice, you can begin to integrate it into asana and every single other thing.  Your practice and your life will become indistinguishable. 

OM illustration credit:  evjeny kiselev

1 comment:

Diane said...

okay, technically a baby's first breath of air is an inhale, but first he or she must expel the amniotic fluid in their lungs.

I like the symmetry of life beginning and ending with an exhale; but a lifetime of breath, beginning first with an inhale and ending with an exhale, that feels ultimately true.