No one ever tells us when to breathe. It just happens, but when someone suggests that you breathe, all of the sudden you remember that you can. At Lake Tahoe Yoga here in Tahoe South you'll often hear me say, "If you're not breathing, you're not doing Yoga. You're just putting your body into weird positions."
Two years ago I took up telemark skiing. I hadn't been on skis since I was 8 years old. As a snowboarder, I had honed my skills to a level at which I could go out into the back country and enjoy a powder day. I figured it was time to learn something new (and my husband bought me boots).
As we live in Tahoe, we have plenty of friends that are either really good skiers or ski instructors which means I received guidance from everyone. The one piece of instruction I remember the most is, "Breathe, Jenay, you're not breathing and it's making you stiff."
Heading up Trimmer Peak for a winter excursion.
When you breathe, your whole body benefits. In Tahoe breathing is even more important because there is 20% less oxygen. It also feels really good because the air is so crisp and fresh.
Did you know most people don't breathe as deeply as they could? Test yourself, close your eyes for a moment and concentrate on your breathing without changing your breath. Into which part of your body do you breathe? Can you feel your diaphragm expand? Your ribcage widen and your chest lifts? Feels good, doesn't it?
Taking a restful breath at the end of a class.
We have the opportunity to really enjoy the outdoors in Tahoe. Our Yoga practice can be done anywhere. Outside is one of the best places to practice. We have to work less to feel the world around us, to understand how it affects us and to recognize how small we are in comparison to all that surrounds us.
A cloud-improved sunset at over Tahoe
Next time you take advantage of Tahoe's beauty by going out to play, take a moment to breathe. Pause while you climb up the Flume Trail and take a deep breath as you view your surroundings. Get off your bike and, while you enjoy the view, inhale and stretch your arms to the sky to offer the sun a salutation. After your next golf game at Edgewood put your clubs away, take a deep breath and exhale into a twist on each side as you enjoy the view of the lake. Take time each day to breathe and to stretch. It just may change your perspective.
Jenay, E-RYT, is the director at LakeTahoeYoga. She lives an active lifestyle and seeks yoga in everything she does.