Yoga, Breathing and Mindfulness – Kirt Mallie

by | Mental Health, Wellness

Hi, I’m Kirt from Modern Organic. I am head yoga teacher and I’ve been teaching for 10 years now.

My journey into yoga came from injuring myself on a construction site and hurting my back. I had to work on some core strength and redevelop my body in a way that it was suitable to do the tasks I was doing. When I did start the practise of yoga, there was no turning back. Mainly because I started to realise this is a holistic approach to wellness. For example, not only is it good for the physical body, but excellent for the mind and also connecting back to the spirit, something that we do easily lose touch of, especially in this day and age with certain systems at place. And breathing was the key to all of it.

Connection with The Self and Our Nature

We do start to become more aware of ourselves. Start to break free of certain ways of being certain things that if anything create more stress and tension in our lives. As we do, we connect back to ourselves, to connect back to nature. Our true nature is the same nature of all things: the birds, the bees, the trees, the ocean, the land, everything. This makes it such a powerful thing to take time to spend with yourself. One way to connect, the easiest way to connect to the self is through the breath.

The breath is the bridge between the body and the mind. Without it, we don’t exist. It is our life force. There’s one breathing technique that my teacher first taught me at the age of 25. I hadn’t really breathed properly my entire life. It’s something that, as I developed my own awareness, my own practise, my breath started to get a lot deeper. My breath started to get a lot more life force, a lot more energy and also noticing how to use that energy throughout the day, throughout life.

Sometimes we are obviously using more energy than other times. We are energetic beings and constantly in exchange of energy. However, when it comes to the breath, most people only breathe in the upper third of their lung, not getting enough life force, enough energy. This is why like depression, anxiety is so prevalent within society, because we aren’t as connected as our elders were or to their ancestors. Most ancient civilisations weren’t only connected to the land, but also connected to the stars, to everything. So one way to get connected back to that is through the breath. And so, a good practise is to breath deep.

Yoga Breathing and Spiritual Awareness

I’m going to teach you a diaphragmatic breath, or what we call a yogic breath. The word yoga actually means connection or union. It is the union of our spirit to the great spirit and we become one with all. A good way to do this is to sit or stand up nice and straight, then roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears. Feel as if we’re lightly being lifted from the crown of our head, by a single strand of silk. Feel that lengthening even just, in this moment. Sway back and forward, even side to side or circles, feeling into your balance point. We all have it, the point where gravity has the least effect. Therefore it doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting or standing, you can feel into it .

Breathing Technique

First, i’ll invite you to bring your left hand onto the belly and the right hand just over the heart centre. As you start to breathe more consciously, breath in through the nose and out of the nose. Notice the breath as it enters through the tip of the nose and exits through the tip of the nose. The mind can only focus on one thing at a time. It doesn’t matter where your mind was or where it might go, just bring your attention back to the breath that you’re breathing.

Presence here and now can only be experienced in the moment. It’s not then and there, it’s here and now. I invite you to draw your breath in deeper. If you think of drawing energy in through the nose, but down towards the naval point. So we actually expand the diaphragm down and towards the belly, and then we start to fill up the lungs. Then as you empty, empty from the top down. Empty the lungs and the belly starts to fall. As you breathe into your left hand, feeling the belly start to rise. Then into the right hand, as you fill up your lungs completely, then we empty from the top, from the right hand, letting go from the belly.

Presence and Self Awareness

Start to find a nice, smooth, deep and even rhythm. Breathe into the left-hand and then the right expanding and then empty from the top down, relaxing. As we start to find this even flow, we’re breathing in energy, vitality and life force. As we exhale we are just releasing the old, what no longer serves. We are in this constant cycle of birth, life and death as we let go. It’s a process. This experience becomes more potent, the more present that we are, the more aware that we are. The more connected to the moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. They don’t exist. All that is real is this moment, what we can directly experience. All else is illusion.

It’s a good reminder to come back to the breath. Come back to yourself and experience every moment you can to the fullest. Not wasting energy by directing the mind in other places, but focusing here and now.

Kirt Mallie, Co-founder and head teacher of Modern Organic.