Last Wednesday, I was stressed. The kind of stressed where I was sitting at a cafe, headphones in listening to kirtan music, trying to submit my second grant proposal of the week (for a very exciting soon-to-be-announced yogi project, I might add), trying desperately to be calm, and getting frustrated, again and again, when my computer that I’ve had for four years kept deleting what I was writing. “Are you OK?” my boyfriend kept asking from across the cafe table. “I’m fine," I kept responding in a way that clearly meant, "Can’t you see how fucking stressed out I am?!"
And then, sitting there at my favorite cafe in my college town, I placed my hands palms down on the table, closed my eyes, and took a deep breaths. And another. And another. The kinds of deep breaths that do not just reach into the lungs, but that go deep, deep down into the stomach, the kinds of deep breaths that are transformative in how they manage to make even fingertips feel alive again when all they have been doing is typing, typing, typing.
I remember reading once that “inspiration” means “to breathe in.” I would add that “to breathe in” means to make oneself inspired, to take an action that will result in different thoughts. Clearly, I was not feeling so hot on Wednesday. Being a yoga teacher does NOT mean that I don’t get stressed. Being college yogis in general does not mean that we don’t get stressed; it means that when we do, we have the tools to deal with it. Therein lies the gift of yoga. We can breathe our way into thinking, feeling, being, acting differently.
So join me. Inhale. Let it fill your lungs. Let it fill your belly. Let it fill your heart.