In my yoga practice, my favorite thing is Ujjayi Pranayama. This is the breath that sounds like an ocean in my throat and is especially satisfying when I can’t physically be at the beach, looking at the ocean. When time must stand still, in an asana, while showing patience, or while gathering courage, breathing can help. So, in lieu of a mantra, since I’ve never officially been given one, I create my own. I am breathing in, I am breathing out.
Teaching this to children, 5 year-olds, is an enlightenment in itself. Have you ever heard children cheer when told it was time for yoga? Have you ever witnessed the serious face of a small child gazing over his hand in Warrier 2, or smiled secretly as a little girl in triangle pose looked up at her hand and said, “Hello hand!”
Yoga can mean moving into a posture, noticing one’s environment, listening to one’s body or simple quieting the mind long enough to breathe and be calmed by that magical sound.
Gratitude, like yoga, is a practice too. I am grateful to my teachers, to have a beautiful space to practice, to have a special place in my home to continue that practice and to share the gift of calm with 27 rambunctious 5 year-olds, who move through out the day, but who are grateful for the opportunity to slow down, listen to their private ocean and breathe in and out.