Remember to Breathe


At the end of a yoga class, we are often told to “take yoga off our mats.” I’ve recently realized that for the longest time, I didn’t actually understand what that meant. I would roll up my mat and leave the serenity of the yoga studio, returning to the harsh “real” world. I wouldn’t think twice about my yoga practice— other than the fact that I got some exercise in.

I’m now seeing how yoga helps with the day to day challenges. It helps us be kinder to ourselves and others, see the positive in difficult situations, and let go of what doesn’t serve us. But seeing it and living it is a whole different ball game.

This Monday, I was reminded that I can practice yoga anywhere.

I had just arrived at my psychiatrist’s office and was immediately confronted by a receptionist regarding an outstanding charge. I panicked. I didn’t have the money. After a couple of card declines, she told me “You usually have to pay before you see the doctor,” and let me pass.

I was flustered, I felt anxious, and all I wanted to do was cry. When it was my turn to see the doctor, I had forgotten everything I wanted to tell him.

I didn’t calm down until a couple of hours later. I realized that I had forgotten to ground down and breathe. I was lucky that the receptionist let me pass without paying the fee. I was lucky to have such a caring doctor. Since I’d forgotten to breathe, I didn’t see the good in front of me.

When we are in the thick of it, it’s hard to remember why we practice yoga. But that’s the key: it’s practice. Even if we don’t get it “right”, we are constantly striving to live the most authentic life that we can.

This week, I have decided to remember to breath. Not just when I do my poses, but in challenging everyday situations as well.

YogaEmily Ma