Monday, May 21, 2007

Prana versus Prada

My only meaningful activity yesterday was getting to and from a yoga class downtown. This gave me a lot of time to think about life, yoga, and priorities.

With the change of seasons, as well as lots of baby showers and birthdays to buy presents for, I've been spending more time than usual shopping. I'm amazed at how quickly money can be spent, and especially amazed at the amount of money people spend on designer apparel and accessories. When I initially woke up yesterday, I was tempted to go shopping to search for a new dress. Something low-cut, red, and fun for the summer. I resisted, choosing Prana over Prada.

So yesterday gave me a full day to really think about the wisdom of setting intentions and priorities. I had a wonderful yoga practice, in which I set my primary intention on my breath. The class and type of yoga are not what I'm used to, so I told myself that I would let my breath guide me. I would make sure to keep my pace one that I could maintain my ujjayi breathing - a breath process that is kind of like fogging a mirror with your mouth closed.

It was very interesting because it meant that I had to abandon a certain amount of ego. I didn't push myself into a headstand because it would have meant leaving behind the focus on my breath. Often I was a full position behind everyone else, partially because my breath is naturally slow and deliberate, and I was only willing to transition at the pace that my breath transitioned. I did not want to be rushed by someone else's pace.

For anyone that doesn't do yoga, this may not make sense, so let's switch the topic a bit.

Prana in yoga is considered the life force. It encompasses more than just breath and air - extending also to the metabolic functions of the body, but to simplify it, let's just talk about the breath.

It serves as such a good analogy to life in general. Our breathing is certainly something that we take for granted, and unless we are confronted with a serious illness or anxiety attack, it comes without fanfare and without fail. The beauty of the breath is that we also have control of it. We can consciously relax our body just by focusing on the deep potential that lies in the control of our breath.

I would argue that most of the other good parts of life are much the same: love, friendship, health. They live with in various forms on a daily basis without much effort. Occasionally we become conscious of them, particularly when they become difficult or especially wonderful, but regardless they are always there. So then my question is: If we consciously relax certain elements of our emotional lives, is there the same deep potential for change and control?

I like to believe the answer is yes. With each new breath we can change the way we live our lives. We can choose to live differently, love differently, react differently, and accept differently.

*insert deep breath here*

So what did you just change?

No comments: