Some of us emphasise the mind. We read and we learn and we try to think better and be smarter. Some of us emphasise the body. We train and explore and push our physical limitations. And some of us try to do both.
Last night I was at a yoga class and the teacher made an offhand remark. She said that the breath is the bridge between the mind and the body.
In that instant, I forgot about the breathing exercise we were supposed to be doing. My mind began to race. See, for so long, I’ve felt divided. A big part of my childhood was spent playing sports, testing and expanding the mind via purely physical means. That transitioned into the pursuit of a career in movement and coaching. But then I started writing and fell even more in love. I wanted to pursue that, to do that for the rest of my life. But reading and writing and thinking are purely mental activities.
So I went from wanting to exist in the purely physical realm of movement, to wanting to live amongst the intellectual realm of reading and writing. And I’ve found it very hard to reconcile the two, to build a bridge between the two worlds I felt such an incredible pull towards. Until last night.
Over the last year or so, I’ve begun to see that the breath is important. That it has links into both the physical and the mental. But I’ve never understood why. I’ve never understood why meditation and mindfulness and learning how to breathe matters so much to me. Now I do.
The breath is the gateway between those two worlds. It’s the bridge that spans the chasm. The breath is something that transcends the traditional dichotomy of mind-versus-body. The breath, and it’s function as a bridge between the physical and the mental, is singular proof that the world is not black and white, but grey. And by attempting to understand and master it we can learn to live a more wholesome, a more integrated life.