Just breathe – the ultimate yoga cliché

I had someone once tell me that she hated it when yoga teachers say, “just breathe”. It’s like the ultimate yoga cliché – you go to class and the teacher is constantly reminding you to breathe. Like you would forget or something, right? OK but seriously: how many times have you found yourself in said yoga class, holding it?! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I’ve been guilty. Years of yoga, both teaching and practicing, and there I am, losing my connection with the breath, front and center on my mat. Jeesh.

Cue this song, appropriately called Just Breathe. (as I mentioned – I’ve left the 90s behind with my music technology!)
Personally, I think we need to be reminded to just breathe, on a daily basis. We’re working against evolution here – our flight or fight response triggers a shortening of breath. So anytime we’re feeling challenged or stressed, we’re not breathing deeply. Sometimes we’re not breathing at all. I think that justifies the ongoing reminder. And truly, my yoga practice is responsible for helping me appreciate the power of my breath, so that I won’t take it for granted. It may be a natural thing to breathe, but it’s definitely a practice to cultivate strong, powerful breath. Like asana, we have to work at it. With intention. With reminders.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that we lose touch with – in this case, our most basic life force. So if you’re in my yoga class and I tell you to breathe, sorry for the cliché.