Hatha and restorative retreat April 2017

Breathing into the present

Greetings ☺ I’ll soon be making my way to the wondrous Rustic Retreats to lead my seventh and eighth retreats there!

How time flies (!) – a thought that I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to. This is just one reason why it is so beneficial for us to breathe into the present as we’ll be focusing on in the up-coming retreats in April.

We need not look very far to realise the fundamental importance of the breath. The cessation of the breath ends this life. “Take a deep breath” is a well-known saying to calm ourselves. The breath is an intrinsic part to diverse healing practices including Tai Chi, Ecstatic Awakening Dance, Qi Gong, meditation, massage … and of course yoga!

Similarly, we need not delve very far into yoga for the importance of breath in the practice to be revealed. “Just breathe” and “deepen your breath” are frequent instructions from

yoga teachers, even in beginner classes. Pranayama or breath exercises feature in many a yoga session with one translation of the term being “control of breath”. Breath is thought to help quieten the mind and to release the old and welcome in the new. The benefits offered by optimal use of the breath span our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. In short, yoga simply cannot be without a conscious awareness of the breath and the only ability required in order to practice yoga is to be able to breathe!

This is all further reinforced if we consider the etymological roots of the words animal and spirit. They stem from the Latin animalis and spiritus, respectively. The former means to have breath or soul; the latter means spirit or breathing. This reminds us of the role of breath in accessing a deeper space within ourselves that is shared by all beings. We work to rest in that space of unity. It also reminds us of the connection of breath to spirit, soul and meaning.

This stunning visual and audio portrayal of a poem by Rumi – Only Breath will invite you further into the theme for this retreat. If you wish to enjoy a sneak preview of Animal Yoga visit the Animal Yoga website, where you can find links to online sessions ☺

Together, on these rejuvenating retreats, we will learn a lot more about the intricacies of the breath and then put the theory into practice to experience the breath in all its glory.

I will see you there! ☺

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