Anyone else occasionally get the sensation that they're just not breathing enough?
In the workshop I've been blogging about incessantly for the past couple of weeks, Esak focused a lot on breathing--pranyama, 80/20 breathing, and "holding the breath" when initially going into the postures. I had the realization today that in some classes I'm scared to breathe. What. The. Hell.
I walked into class tonight after a really busy day: classes, grading, workshops, errands, and then yoga. It had felt kind of like a marathon, and I was almost a little cocky that I was riding that wild horse of tasks so smoothly. The class really humbled me, and I could tell that the panicky feeling I was getting had nothing to do with my physical state of well-being. I was creating it. I was not exhaling and inhaling as much as I normally did.
The most troubling part of it all was that even when I realized I wasn't breathing enough, I couldn't get myself into a rhythm. Despite backing off the postures, I couldn't get back on track with the breath, and I began entering panic mode. And the most frustrating thing was that I couldn't blame it on lack of sleep, on what I ate, or what I didn't drink. It was all in my head.
The other most troubling part ;-) is thinking about where else in my life I'm not pulling enough air into the lungs. I think this idea is both literal and figurative--I can tense up and hold my breath, and I can mentally hold onto the day's events, to not let them go. In either case, not exhaling has consequences.
Back to yoga. When I'm feeling like I'm not breathing, first I'll try to gently bring awareness to that instead of focusing so intently on the posture. In worst-case scenarios, like today, I resort to singing, "Just breathe. It's gonna be OK," to the tune of that silly Lady Gaga song, "Just Dance."
Bringing up the Lady Gaga thing reminds me to be aware of my own... limits? Idiosyncrasies? Lady Gaga is... showy. Often inane. Not the most impressive musician on the planet. But her music is crack to me! Also, I keep a package of Trader Joe's oreos in the cupboard, just in case of an emergency. Also, I like the smell of skunks. Also, I can really, really get caught up in the day's herd of wild horses as they gallop on by.
But there's no need to. It's OK to acknowledge my own limits and tendencies, quirky as they might be. I can ride the horse when I need to, and hop off when I reach the destination. Just breathe, E.
** what a constellation of topics this post has: breathing, Lady Gaga, a horse metaphor, and an admission that I like skunks. Can you tell my mind is all over the place? ;-)