SMARTer bodies

Tag Archives: emotions

Your Brain on Scary Emotions and Breath

Let’s explore a familiar situation:

You’re in sukhasana (chair pose), a one-legged balance pose or even an intense-feeling forward bend.  There is sweat dripping,  muscles shaking and a struggle to keep focus. This is usually the part of the class where the yoga teacher calls out, “Remember to breathe!”  Ah, there it is.  The reminder to turn inward, find your center, overcome what feels in that moment overwhelming by remembering to breathe.  So deceptively simple; you do and it works.  By concentrating on your breath your focus is redirected away from bodily sensations associated with the difficulty of executing your current asana.  In doing so, you exert control over how swayed (externally and internally) you are by the physical and mental circumstance.  You succeed, sustain the pose or find calm even if you fall out of it.  Job well done, congratulations!

Typically, at the end of such a class comes savasana (corpse pose).  Now you are directed to lie comfortably (with or without props), but still.  “Follow your breath.  Don’t try to manipulate it. Just observe.”  Oh, that’s WAY different then what you were doing earlier.  Read More