Just One Pose: Breath Awareness

Our “Just One Pose” posts answer the question: “If I have time to do just one pose, what should it be?” When I wrote on Mountain Pose, I figured I had hit at the root of alignment and awareness with the most basic and fundamental pose. Then my father asked for help with yoga.

This was a fun shock for me, as I’d never thought he’d be interested in yoga asana, and I said as much in the preface to Lifelong Yoga. Dad had some need for core strength, and I sent him a copy of the book and some videos from my Core Strength for Real People series. And like the wise elder he is, Dad disregarded most of the poses and went straight to the crux of the issue: breath.

You have to breathe! Without your breath, you won’t be holding any pose for very long. But with your breath, you’re generating support for and from your torso, abdomen, and pelvic floor. With these areas engaged, any movement becomes more easy.

So here’s the Just One Pose for the month: breathe consciously for a few rounds daily. When you find yourself bored, when you are in line, when you are stressed, when you are about to lift something heavy or embark on any activity at all: Take a breath with full awareness. Feel what happens in your nose, in your lungs, across your ribcage, through your belly, and along the bottom of your pelvis.

Supported fish, pictured here and given the full Just One Pose treatment here, is a good home base if you have the time to give your breath your full attention for one or more minutes. But you can connect with your breath anytime, anywhere, with no need of any particular state of being in your body. It’s the sine qua non, without which no movement is possible.

—Sage

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Sage Rountree

Sage Rountree is author of six books on yoga for athletes, most recently Everyday Yoga.

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