Neda & I have been paying a lot of attention to the breath recently as we continue our study of yoga. Learning about the basic physiological mechanism of breath has been a spiritually revelatory process.  The main idea is that when we breathe in, the diaphragm (a muscle in our mid-section, connected to the rib cage) pushes down, expanding our chest capacity and lowering the pressure within our lungs. This open space within the lungs is quickly filled by air from the outside. Another way of looking at it is that inhalation is simply the process of making space with your lungs for the air to flow in. You don’t actually do anything – you just create space and let the universe do the rest. It begs the questions – are you breathing the air or is the air breathing you?
The diaphragm during inhalation and exhalation
As the holidays begin, the breath can be a useful reminder for all of us. The holidays are a time of high expectation as many of us come together to celebrate family and connection. Too often, however, we all try to do too much and tensions arise before we know it. What started as something we were so looking forward to can become disappointing and frustrating. This is where the analogy of the breath can be helpful. Because when we come together with family and friends over the holiday, we don’t have to do anything to make it work. We just simply need to make space for the love to flow in.

This same principle applies throughout our lives. Whenever you find yourself trying so hard for something to be right and feel like you’re just hitting your head against the wall, let a breath take you and remember that sometimes the solution is just waiting to flow in.

Here is wishing you and yours a wonderful Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years!

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