Move with your breath

Photo courtesy of AmandaD-TX (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of AmandaD-TX (Creative Commons)

Toward the end of winter, we had some really bad weather, which allowed me to explore a more focused yoga practice since I couldn’t get out to run or go to the gym. I’ve found myself continuing the practice because of the benefits both physically and mentally.

A yoga practice has always been deceiving to me because it appears you aren’t doing that much, but in fact, it is more difficult than many other workouts. Moving with the breath is a key component, and just the focus on taking deep measured breaths that flow with my movements is both calming and energizing for me.

The other thing I love is holding a pose and concentrating on what muscles I need to contract and how to make sure I’m in the right position.  For instance, one of the most basic poses is called down dog, like an inverted “V” position, with hands and feet pressed into the ground. In that pose, I need to focus my weight on the inner part of my hands, squeeze my forearms together, melt my shoulder blades into my back, and squeeze my legs together while pressing my heels toward the floor.

Then it’s important to hold and breathe into the pose. As you move through other poses, you inhale into the pose, and then exhale into the next.

There is definitely a right and wrong order and way to do things.

That translates so well to my work life also. I need to slow down and focus on moving in rhythm – not forcing or rushing things. Move with the breath. Inhale. And exhale.

When I’m rushed and sloppy, that’s when I make mistakes. If I hurry through tasks without planning or forget to pay attention to balance, I make things more difficult for myself and that can lead to burnout.

It’s important to pay attention to balance – whether that means balancing different work tasks or work and personal life. I need to be sure not to spend too much time on one task if that means I don’t get another important one done. And leaving time for me is healthy.

Pausing to plan instead of launching into the day or a new project is key. Considering how best to tackle what needs to be done is like holding the pose and assessing what muscles are at work. I can make sure I have the tools or supplies in place, the critical pieces of information, and know what end result I’m expecting.

My life seems to be less stressful when I move in rhythm.

How would moving in rhythm benefit your life?