I have been focusing a lot on the qualities of exhaling during my yoga practice lately. There have been many things coming up in my life that are challenging. I am trying to find a place of acceptance and gratitude during this period of mild frustration. I have been sick on and off for a while, suffer from allergies and still have a knee injury. It all gets a little tiresome. I have this feeling that if I eat well and do yoga I will feel wonderful but that isn’t always the case. I probably feel a lot better than I would if I was watching 8 hours of t.v. a day while eating cheetos… but all in all my energy and vitality feel low at the moment.
So I am exhaling… long drawn out exhales, releasing expectations and tension as much as I can. There is a quote here I like that says “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” a book outlining the precepts of traditional yoga, refers to exhalation as the way to calm, energize and balance your mind as well as elevate your mood. By exhaling fully, you eliminate toxins, release what no longer serves you, remove obstacles, increase relaxation, relieve stress, free your respiratory system to inhale more fresh air, and clear the movement of prana.” I particularly like the comment about how our deeper exhales result in fuller inhales. So often during breath work the focus is placed on the inhale which is a very active process. This can result in the exercise feeling slightly forced. If we bring our attention to the exhale things become more relaxed. With deep release we create spaciousness. By letting go we create room for new things to come into our life.