Written by Radha Rani Bradley - Co-founder of Akhanda Yoga Australia

Part 1: Take each moment as it comes. 

We often tell people during yoga practice to “watch the Breath” – why is this? Is it to remind us to breathe? Well, that is part of it. We often hold our breath when we are nervous, worried and focusing very hard on something. But ultimately breathing is not a process we have to think about in order to do it. So, we say "watch the Breath", because watching the Breath helps us stay in the present moment.

The breath changes because of something that is happening now – not something that happened 20 minutes ago or will happen in the future (unless you are dwelling on these aspects), and we have the power to notice, be aware of it and respond.

When our breath becomes short from exertion or because our heart rate has increased, then focusing on lengthening the breath can calm us down and lower our heart rate, both on and off the yoga mat.

When we simply 'watch the Breath', we don’t reminisce about how amazing that last breath was or judge it in any way. Nor do we fear or long for our next breath. We are simply being present and seeing what each breath and each moment holds. Accepting it and leaving the judgement behind.

Never do you hear someone say: 

“that breath just wasn’t as good as the one before it,”

or

“when I take a breath in an hour, it’ll all be sorted out and I’ll be much happier,”

or

“I’ll be sweet once I take that breath I’m going to take in 6 months, I just have to get through the next five months of breathing first.” 

Judging the moment, comparing it, labelling it as positive or negative, takes us away from the present moment.

So, take each moment for what it is. Enjoy it fully, whatever it holds. Wishing it was in some way different, only causes stress, anxiety and misery on top of any emotions brought on by any given moment. We don’t have to make the challenging experiences worse in any way or take away from the ones that give us pleasure by fearing the end or clinging to the 'good times'.

And if you struggle with this (let's be honest, who doesn’t?).... simply 'watch the Breath', and take each moment as it comes..

Read Part 2