Have you noticed how your breath changes, depending on how you’re feeling physically and mentally?
Often if you’re feeling pain in the body and tension in the mind, your breath will tend to be shorter, sharper, more shallow, and more of an effort.
If you’re feeling at ease in your body and at peace in your mind, your breath will tend to be longer, smoother, deeper and easier.
Our breath and our mind are so tightly interwoven, it is impossible to separate them. If your mind is agitated, so follows your breath. If your breath is agitated, so follows your mind.
Can you notice throughout your practice — and throughout your day — how your breath shifts and changes, and how your mood corresponds, and vice versa? Which poses, situations or encounters make your breath quicken and become more agitated? Which poses, situations or encounters make your breath slow down and soften?
It pays to check in throughout your day. Sometimes I haven’t quite figured out what’s going on in my head yet, when I notice I’m struggling to catch the end of my breath. My breath is a gateway to my mind. I slow it down, my mind begins to settle, and I can work out what’s going on beneath the surface.