Breathe, Vinyassa Yoga

Spiritual Yogic Breath

(one complete breath in yoga)


My oceanic “Ujjayi” breath was probably sounding a bit more like the gasps of a beached mackerel just about now. How could I possibly manage 5 more breaths in this pose? In an act of utter faith, I expanded my diaphragm and smoothed the air hissing through slightly constricted windpipes, and at the same time tried to remember my teacher’s promise that through effort something would open—and it would become easier. In the past 12 months, I’ve been more challenged by a deceptively simple Yogic pose than I’d ever been in years of weight training. I’ve built aerobic endurance, and struggled with the true meaning of will-power while deeply stretching a ligament. Yet, in those same months I’ve discovered all the tired evenings that I’d become so accustomed to, were starting to re-animate with new found vigor.

I exhaled slowly. Sweat started breaking from fresh pores as I exerted body parts I never knew I had. For the hundredth time I found myself reciting, “This is for me.”

Just then Marie-Aude’s hands materialized from behind and started gently aligning my already maxed-out hip joints into proper form. Oops, she’s caught me. My poor hips had prematurely aged and stiffened at the desk of an American lifestyle. As she corrected my posture, a laser spot of heat developed deep within some bundle of forgotten sinew, and for the briefest instant, I had the notion of a path back to the suppleness I was born with.

“Two more breaths here,” I heard her voice from some distant mountain top.

Warning. Muscle failure! The trembling in my muscles blossomed in full. Maybe I could fake it. No chance. I fell like a rock from the posture, but with thick obstinance, my leg wobbled back into the air and I rejoined the class for the last breath.

Then—silky, delicious reprieve, Child’s Pose.         

Time for air.

Time for waves of breath to restore calm in a pounding heart. I found myself floating above the mat, a song without notes humming through my veins. I nearly stole into heaven itself. But then my mind pummeled me back to earth with a single thought, “You don’t suppose we’re doing wheel next?”

Not since the moving meditations taught by my ‘Gohn-Dagow’ Gung Foo master twenty years before, have I experienced such a connection between physical, mental and spiritual. He taught that working with one—affects all the others. I was finding that Vinyasa Yoga flow achieved the same. How I have missed the sensation of something deeper beginning to stir while practicing the simple act of flowing in the physical. Melting back into my mat, I made a promise; I’ll not lose this connection…ever again.

“Let go of whatever is going on in there.” Marie-Aude’s smooth voice slipped through the room, urging us. “Be fully present.”


As a child I’d been present. What has become of the present? Life’s contracts have slowly robbed me of my ‘now’ and replaced it with scheming futures, and endless loops of replaying of pasts. My mind has become addicted to thoughts which collide as they fight for attention in this—the all too small space—of a present moment.

But since discovering Marie-Aude’s yogic teaching, I’ve begun to remember, in thin slices, what it’s like to be here.


The scent of a spring day and nothing else. Something long asleep is awakening, and is calling my name.


Jay Archer David


ROAD SIGNSJay Archer David

After a near-fatal climbing accident, David tries to return home. But the road he’s on is no longer what it seems. He’s pursued by a terrible secret that will turn a simple dream into the greatest of human struggles. The road leads David into the past, the future, and back to a present truth he sought desperately to escape.


Jay Archer David

Novels of the magical realism have come a long way in the past few years, but perhaps none will take the reader quite as far as Jay Archer David’s ROAD SIGNS. Subtitled, A Book of Practical Magic, there is indeed a magic in these pages.

...novel by Jay Archer David