Taking a Breath to Start

Here we are again: a new year and the idea of a blank slate. Or a blank page, as I like to think of it. It’s exciting to be at the start of a new story, poised to dive right in. But just like in writing, it can be good to take a beat to plan, prepare, and set-up for going forward.

It’s thrilling to dive right in and start trying to accomplish all of the things. The challenge here could be burning out or getting up to a certain point only to then not know where to go from there (hello middle of the novel draft). I think often of taking a breath – or trying to remember to remind myself to do so – when there’s a lot going on and I am leaning towards feeling overwhelmed. I’ve written here before about the breath to pause in the moment of a whirlwind.

With that pause in mind, it can be just as important to take a breath before even starting. What is going to be coming up that I need to be prepared for? Have I thought through the actions I’m starting? Do I know where I’m going or am I prepared to not know?

At nearly every yoga class I’ve taken, we simply breathe at the start of class. This might be lying down in savasana – the pose we’ll come back to at the end – or sometimes face down to really feel the belly move while breathing, or sometimes in child’s pose. Whatever the shape, we’re focusing on the breath and steadying it. We’re preparing ourselves to move through the following hour which will be work (depending upon the type of class, this might be more work than others).

These few moments to breathe at the start of class is such a great reminder that we’re transitioning to something new. No matter how many classes have taken, that day I’m moving from whatever’s been going on to this hour that’s just for me. I can reflect on that, think on what I want to get out of the upcoming hour and even assess if I may need to be gentler with myself or if I’m ready to intensify a little more.

So this January, when it’s new and exciting to get started on all the projects we have in mind for the upcoming year, I invite you to take a moment to breathe. Settle in with the project and think about what you want to accomplish and how you intend to go about doing that. If you haven’t thought about the actions to take, then this might be the perfect time to start planning that out.

This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat Yoga Studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own experience.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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