As emotions spiral, tensions rise and fall, and the known becomes the unknown, chaos feeds itself, growing into an overwhelming mass of frenzied heaviness. Everything has the potential to ignite from a spark to a blaze. How do we contain the raging wild fire into a simple, controllable flame? Where do we grasp when everything slips through our fingers?
When there is nothing to hold onto, we can always go inside and hold onto our Self. There we will find the steadiness. Pranayama can be a key to unlock that door to stillness.
When we cannot remove ourselves from a difficult place we can remove our minds, relocating to a clearer space. It starts with focusing on the breath. Once we begin to focus, the breath slows, the body begins to release tension. When we deepen the breath we are signaling to our body and mind that everything is ok. Then the heart follows.
There are so many wonderful pranayama practices, great for cleansing, for stimulating, for stilling the mind. Just practicing one – mindful, slow, steady, deep breathing – is life changing. I made it through 20 hours of natural labor with pranayama (and a lot of determination, courage, and faith). I stepped out of each contraction and into the breath. Steady, slow, deep. Once my son was born, the endless hours of focus and concentration seemed like a blink of an eye, the pain quickly forgotten. But I won’t ever forget the gift of pranayama in getting me through and its powerful and immediate help in all times of difficulty.
Pranayama continually reminds me to slow down, to let go, to have faith that my inner Divine will guide me, that I am not alone, that I am connected – that everything will be ok.