For a while now in my yoga practice I have been working on a sense of “allowing” when I practice asana – this sense of using my physical practice as an exploration of where movement can go. For me this has often been in staying more still and being in a posture.
Part of this has been a sense of witnessing and “allowing” the breath, starting with a sense of witnessing the process of the inhale and exhale and in particular noticing those slight pauses at the turn of the breath. I have started to take this into movement in my flow classes by exploring a sense of moving and deepening into postures during that space at the end of the exhale. This is the approach taken in the Scaravelli style of yoga and whilst I don’t consider myself a “Scaravelli practitioner” I find it such a useful tool to try and move to find a sense of freedom and space in the body and an excellent way to approach postures without straining or striving.
This focus on the spaces between the breath can also be very helpful in meditation, and perhaps more importantly, taking meditation off the mat and into our lives. What meditation does is bring a gap, a pause – a space for us to respond mindfully rather than blindly reacting (which I have spent a lot of my life doing!) This space between the breaths can be a way of finding that space.
I leave you with a passage from the “Breath: the essence of yoga” by Sandra Sabatini:
“The pause at the end of the exhalation
And the pause at the end of the inhalation
Is a special place
Where nothing happens or nothing seems to happen
Yet the old air is travelling away from us
And the new breath is ready to move in
In that space between
There is silence
More than anything else
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