The second of the Ten Principles of Yoga is having a relaxed body, mind and breath.
When we think of yoga, we tend to think of stretching, strengthening and ultimately relaxing the body. That’s what rest pose is all about, right? Even when holding a challenging pose, we look for ways to relax the muscles and tissues. First we get the structure of the posture just-right, then we learn to relax into it. It isn’t necessarily easy. But when we figure it out, it feels so right!
But what about the mind? Relaxing the mind means letting go of thinking and processing and what-if-ing and just “being.” Not just during rest pose, but throughout class.
And the breath? Having a relaxed breath means that we’re not striving to breathe in a particular way. We’re not forcing the breath. We’re letting the muscles around the lungs and other breathing apparatus relax. We’re just letting the breath flow smoothly in and out.
When we think, we tend to tense up the body and the breath (not to mention the mind if we’re thinking too hard [brain cramp!]) Pay attention to how relaxed you are when you practice yoga. See if you can relax more. Then try applying this practice to everyday life.