By Laura Mills
If there’s one lesson I’ve had hammered into my brain in the last few years, it’s that almost nothing in this world is one-hundred-percent certain. Even with the best-laid plans and the most-organized calendars—even with the most-sincere promises—almost nothing is absolutely guaranteed. Life’s unreliability is what brought me to yoga in the first place; if everything up to that point had worked out as planned, I wouldn’t have sought physical and emotional healing in the first place. It was strange irony that what brought me down led me directly onto the mat that raised me up….
….BECAUSE, it was on the mat that I discovered the one thing in this world that IS one-hundred-percent certain. I discovered the one thing in which I can place my trust without fear or even thought of disappointment: my breath. As long as I’m alive, an exhale will follow each inhale, and an inhale will follow each exhale. There may be more or less time in-between depending on what I’m doing—whether I’m practicing vigorous Vinyasa or restorative yoga, for example, or whether I’m sleeping or running—but the pattern of inhale-exhale-inhale-exhale will never change.
As yogis, as a rule, we are taught the importance of the breath. It’s what moves prana, or life energy, through the body, but it is also so much more. It’s the sweet certainty on which I can focus when all else seems up-in-the-air and unstable. It’s the one thing I can keep with me no matter where I go, what I do, or what I plan…or hope…or fear…. It’s the foundation on which I can re-build whatever needs rebuilding, one inhale, one exhale at a time.