Breath work is a core aspect of meditation (and yoga!). By taking a moment to pay attention to simple inhales and exhales, you’re training yourself to be less reactive and more aware. It’s really quite powerful.
It’s something we often take for granted and is so simple, yet so powerful it can change our moods. Think when someone tells you to “take a deep breath” to calm yourself down. Or when you give a “sigh of relief” after something stressful. The pattern of our breath reveals so much about how we live our lives. And by observing the breath and practicing being in the present, we have the ability to become more mindful and make space for so much more in life. (Science has a lot to say about meditation too.)
As an avid yogi, yoga teacher and dabbler in meditation, here are my favorite places to get my breath on in Houston. Namaste!
- Mindfulness and Meditation with Roger (YogaOne Midtown): This is a 45 minute class lead by YogaOne founder, Roger Rippy. I love this class because it’s generally pretty well attended (I’ve seen as many as 30 people squeezed into the tiny room before) which creates a great community of people wanting to learn. Class generally begins with introductions and you get to practice mindfulness not only through your breath, but also through listening to other’s stories.
- What makes it great: The class generally has a theme, such as “self acceptance” or “letting go”, which begins with the meditation and continues to Roger’s Bhatki flow class with live music.
- Mindfulness and Meditation with Brandon (YogaOne Heights): This 45 minute class is generally pretty intimate with students with all levels of experience. Brandon is incredibly knowledgeable and plans each class around a theme steeped in yoga philosophy. He leads you through one or two meditations (depending on the lesson) and incorporates fun things like chimes. As a teacher, I find him very calming and very approachable. Just being around him makes you more zen.
- What makes it great: The class takes place on Sunday afternoons, so it’s the perfect opportunity take a moment to pause during the whirlwind of the weekend and regroup before a busy week.
- Meditation with Ali Katz (private sessions): Ali creates a meditation oasis in her home’s “Zen Den” and is all about creating mediation for the real world. In her class, she provides breaks down meditation in a very digestible manner including: a list of practical benefits, a beginners approach on to how to meditate, and equips you with numerous techniques to take home.
- What makes it great: She practices a variety of meditation styles which you can customize based on your session. If one-on-one things aren’t your style. You can also catch Ali at her group classes that begin at Equinox in February.
- Yoga Nidra with Aileen (Devanand Center): Yoga nidra (also known as “yoga sleep”) is a deep relaxation technique where the teacher walks you through focusing on different parts of your body or different settings. You lie in savasana and practice being fully conscious.
- What makes it great: Even though the class is only 30 minutes, you leave feeling incredibly refreshed like you just slept 8 hours!
- Joy Yoga Flow with Meditation (Joy Yoga): Attend a fast paced yoga class to get your heart pumping and then end on an extended savansa with a guided meditation. Best of both worlds and it gets done in just 75 minutes! The meditation part is optional, so you are welcome to leave if you want, but chances are you’ll likely stay! This might be the motivation you need if you’re trying to start meditating more.
- What makes it great: It’s not “hot” yoga, so you won’t necessarily leave the class too sweaty, but you’ll be guaranteed to leave the class refreshed!
- Bonus: Goals Alive Workshop with Jacki Carr Jan 22-23, 2016 (MindTribes Yoga Labs): Want to kickstart your new year’s resolution to relax, energize, or meditate more? Consider taking a deep dive into vision, meditation, and goal planning at the upcoming MindTribe workshop in Houston. The Friday event (Jan 22 6-9pm) will include yoga and wine and discuss personal legacy, the impact you have on the world, and your inherent gifts. Saturday afternoon (Jan 23 1-4pm) will be an intro to life design, a guided vision meditation and goal setting 101 to create your future. Both days are BYOM events aka “Bring Your Open Mind.” Interested? Find more details here.