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Contemplations: The Space Between Each Breath Is…?

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“The language of God is Silence. Everything else is a poor translation.” Father Thomas Keating

Contemplations: The space between each breath... Image via Wikipedia

Today, my friend Esme and I took a yoga blend class; a mix of several classical yoga styles. We drove to the yoga studio in our village as the raging winds howled around us. The sky was gray, the trees swayed perilously, and anything that wasn’t tied down or planted firmly in the ground was carried away; swiftly, hurtling forward, a potential weapon. Yesterday, the temperature was in the 60s, warm and bright like a gorgeous summer day; mind you, I’m in NY and this is the height of winter season… Given the erratic weather patterns of late, we can agree that Mother Nature wants us to nurture our planet, each other, and ourselves with great care and consideration.

We gathered our yoga paraphernalia and dashed into the studio to join other classmates on the hardwood studio floor. Darcy, our teacher; expert, smiling, welcoming, greeted us, and as the winds screamed and scowled at us, she started the class with gentle stretches, deep breathing and gradually built up to challenging movements and postures. Through it all, our breathing, steady and strong, met the howling winds; taming the noise, calming the spaces within and without, embracing the soothing silence that gradually shut out the seeming chaos and violence outside. Such is the power of yogic breath.

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, sooner or later, the instructor introduces the class to breath-work or Pranayama. Prana is breath and ayama is the cessation or pausing in-between breaths. As we breathe in and out, rhythmically matching our breath to our yogic movements, we soon find a steadiness, even a calmness take place within our bodies and the petty, niggling thoughts we walked into class with have ceded. Our focus is heightened and each movement we make, each posture we take is supported by the grace that comes with the breath we take.

In between each breath is a silence; a place of prayer and quiet. That silence is the language of grace, God, calming and healing. The silent space between each breath takes us deeper into the exercises or postures and stays with us long after class has ended; long after the howling winds have subsided, and we are settled back into the routine of life at our various homes… There is nothing hocus pocus about this; as anyone who has taken a moment to breathe deeply during a panic attack knows that our focus on breath can help us collect our thoughts and our nerves.

So it is that as the howling winds shook the trees, swept away debris, and threatened to destroy everything in its path this early evening, I took yet another deep breath and found that place of silence between breaths; I bet my fellow students did too and we were comforted, healed, strengthened and reminded that God’s grace is everywhere and especially as close as the space, the silence, between each breath.

What are your thoughts? How do you find calm amidst the noise?
Positive Motivation Tip: Breathe… breathe deeply and meet that place of silence; May God’s grace meet you between each breath.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Le Silence by Auguste Preault via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

25 Comments leave one →
  1. tbaoo permalink
    20/02/2011 12:23 am

    wow, i’ve just bought a tai chi dvd and look forward to similar exercise and relaxation, i badly need both .. 🙂

    • 27/02/2011 4:34 am

      We all need more R & R… The Tai Chi DVD sounds like a lot of fun… update us once you’ve had a crack at it.
      Thank you!

  2. 20/02/2011 1:42 am

    yes, I also took some YOGA lessons and the breathe trainings were the most effective …

    • 27/02/2011 4:37 am

      Breath work is an important foundation for building a Yoga practice. When done properly, the results are remarkable in terms of having an overall sense of well being.
      Thank you!

  3. 20/02/2011 9:59 am

    I absolutely love my yoga classes and the discipline has done wonders for my sense of well-being. The space inbetween the breath is a very powerful place to be. Thank you for describing the experience so beautifully. Juls xxx

    • 27/02/2011 4:39 am

      Hope you are doing well Julie. Yes that place/space is the core of our being and a great place for refreshment and relaxation.
      Thank you!

  4. 20/02/2011 11:11 am

    Goodmorning–your post pinged back to one of mine, and so I came over for a looky-loo, and couldn’t be happier that I did! I am not one to believe in coincidences, and look forward to reading along in the future.
    blessings and best to you–

    • 27/02/2011 4:43 am

      Thank you Jane for popping in… I enjoyed the special ice cream post you had and wondered how we went from here to there… Such is the versatility of our minds. 🙂
      I love the idea of serendipity as it keeps my mind open to possibilities… and I love that you stopped by…
      Thank you!

  5. 20/02/2011 11:38 am

    The hectic pace of our lives does require moments of stillness if we are to survive. I’ve never taken yoga classes…probably should. 🙂 But I’ve read several books and watched (and participated with) several DVD’s…and the correct breathing (which is what most people do NOT do in their daily lives) is the cornerstone of relaxation…one can do lots of yoga “positions” without getting the benefit of true yoga if one does not BREATHE. 🙂
    Thanks, Eliz, for highlighting this important “automatic” response, which, in this anxiety-filled world, many people really need to think about in order to do it correctly.

    • 27/02/2011 4:46 am

      Thank you Vivian, I love your thoughts and comments above. Plus learning correct breathing is so important for our overall health. 🙂
      Thank you!

  6. 20/02/2011 1:17 pm

    I’ve tried yoga a few times but couldn’t stick with it. I find it somewhat boring. I understand the teachings, but I need more activity in my exercise. Which reminds me, I need to get back to doing it regularly.
    Thanks for the post.

    • 27/02/2011 4:49 am

      Oh Barbara,
      We need to get you to a class with an energized , dynamic teacher. There are many different forms of hatha yoga and with further exploration, you will find the right class and teacher for you. We all need exercise. 🙂
      Thank you!

  7. Bree permalink
    20/02/2011 2:38 pm

    Excellent, deeply insightful. I haven’t been able to get that profound question out of my head.
    It is a great contemplative question and each time I breathe I remember the grace.
    Thank you so much for this post and I know as others know, this is deeply inspired.

    • 27/02/2011 4:51 am

      Thank you for your inspired feedback… It is a place of rest and reflection and writing the post, helped me clarify my thoughts. 🙂
      Thank you!

  8. 20/02/2011 7:45 pm

    Breathe in. Breathe out.
    God is the breath within the breath.

    Thanks, Eliz

    • 27/02/2011 4:52 am

      And so it is… It’s all in the breath! 🙂
      Thank you!

  9. 20/02/2011 9:44 pm

    I’ve never taken a yoga class before, but I’ve always wanted to. I have a lot of anxiety and I’ve been told it should help. I hope to take a class relatively soon – they offer some at my college. Thanks for sharing the tips to relax 🙂

    – Michelle

    • 27/02/2011 4:53 am

      I highly recommend it. It would do wonders for lots of things. Let me know how it’s going when you sign up. 🙂
      Thank you!

  10. 20/02/2011 11:30 pm

    This word, “yoga” keeps coming up in my life cuz I am so stressed. I think it is about time I look into it. Relaxing is something I do need more of. Thanks for stopping by my blog~

    • 27/02/2011 4:55 am

      Perhaps the universe is trying to tell you something and offer you a solution to your stress… We all could use some quiet free to do whatever time. 🙂
      Thank you!

  11. 21/02/2011 7:21 am

    I have always wanted to try Yoga exercising. I need that relaxing of the mind, body and soul. Out of all my choices, yoga would give me that in- between each breath a silence; a place of prayer and quiet. Thanks for sharing more thought into this subject.

    • 27/02/2011 4:57 am

      Yoga does give us a place of prayer and quiet and works wonders for our circulation. You can start with a gentle stretch class and work your way up. It is quite simple. 🙂
      Thank you!

  12. 21/02/2011 11:19 am

    Hi Liz,
    I really enjoyed this post, and can very much relate to its Spiritual essence. I love all forms of exercises, processes, moments in life that provide SILENCE and BREATH. I find that Yoga, Meditation and Biking brings the quiet into the breath and soul. In that silent space we become so aware of ourselves….of the beauty within and the connection to All That Is.

    • 27/02/2011 5:00 am

      I love yoga for all the reasons you give above; especially that place of quiet where we can just be and drop all our worries… 🙂
      Thank you!


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