Photo by Monica Felix @

Breathing through something difficult

Photo by Monica Felix @

Photo by Monica Felix @

My instructor recently said, the less breath you feed your fear, the bigger your fear gets.

And so, whether you’re on the mat or out in the world, as soon as you see the warning signs that you are getting into a crisis or losing control, just breathe. Three easy steps. Inhale, pause, exhale. Then repeat.

Even if it does sound like something a preschool teacher would tell an upset student who’s tempted to cry until she passes out on the floor, breathing is a highly underrated emotional tool. Because simply being able to breathe means being in control, albeit in a small form. And the heady rush of power that feeling in control provides is often enough to carry you through the moment.

That’s the beautiful thing about the breath. If doesn’t need to be told what to do. The goal is to get to the point where the breath is breathing you, not the other way around.

Remember, those of us who feel able to control ourselves feel powerful. Next time life gets a little too overwhelming, use the breath as a bridge. The sacred cord of life which binds the soul to the body.

When was the last time you successfully breathed through something difficult?

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.