Obstacles to Simply Breathing

Just fresh out of my favorite Sunday morning yoga class the peace, stillness and resonance of life energy are still palpable.  During this last month it has been my “job” to release as much of the contraction and holding as possible that has built up over the last 4 years while employed in a job that was not in alignment with my heart and soul.

It continues to amaze me how much tension and holding that is perpetually present in our bodies.   These are patterns built up over time.  So….do you have an elephant sitting on your chest?  Or perhaps a boa constrictor wrapping itself around your belly?  No probably not, but then it may feel like that when actually putting attention on the quality of your breath, the tension in your body, or whether you are even breathing at all!

What are the barriers or obstacles to a full natural breath?  This post would be much too lengthy if all were listed and discussed, so let’s just get down to the core of things.  There is an all too pervasive implant within us that wasn’t there when we first entered into the air breathing world.

That belief system is “I am essentially flawed”.  From that place comes a leaving behind of the awareness and practice of our wholeness, and at the same time a journey of struggle towards striving to be “perfect”. In yoga this is called dukha which means misery, unhappiness, and pain.

“Ring the bells, it still can ring.  Forget your perfect offering.  There is a crack in everything.  That is how the light gets in.”  -Leonard Cohen

As we travel further away from our essential heart based nature and senses we enter the world of dukha.  From this place comes a holding in areas of our physical body all fueled by fear and the false belief that we are not good enough exactly the way we are.

The Hindu religion has an elephant headed God called Ganesha who represents the remover of obstacles. What I learned recently is that Ganesha always has one of his tusks slightly broken off.

When in Bali, Indonesia several years ago I bought an amazing carving of Ganesha and when I received him via shipping from Bali I noticed that he had a tusk broken.  At the time I thought it was mishandling in the packing and shipping process….and now 5 years later I realize that this is the representation of the perfect imperfection that we all are and a reminder to look beyond form.

“Acceptance of the somewhat funny looking elephant-headed man as the divine force stills the rational mind and its doubts, forcing one to look beyond outer appearances. Thus Ganesha creates the faith to remove all obstacles, forcing one to look beyond form, removing doubts and pointing out the spiritual side of everything.”

Coming full circle this post is now an invitation to come back to the senses and out of the mind.  To move towards flourishing and away from the pain of dukha.  Our planet is going through a tremendous shift right now and the quality of feeling “at home” inside of ourselves is essential to let go of the holding onto of old deeply engrained patterns that keep us – and everyone else – stuck. Humanity yields to the wisdom of nature, the heart, and the senses – and the breath deepens.

I will end with an observation from my brother who called me today.  He was incredulous that he was the only one riding the waves out in the ocean on a summer weekend in San Diego.  He just couldn’t understand how people there seemed to have forgotten the simple pleasure of getting in the ocean and being with the powerful, wonderfully wild and fluid water – letting go into the sensuality of simply being.

Simply being removes the obstacles to simply breathing.  Enhance your breath.  Enhance your life.  Simply be.







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