“You are alive by breath, you are a product of breath, and your realization is through breath. The moment you are in touch with your breath, the universe pours into you.” - Yogi Bhajan

I have a confession. The first time I tried kundalini yoga I didn't like it at all. In fact, had I been sitting in the back of the class and not the front row I probably would have left after the first five minutes. And that was only after the warm up.

Looking back, the reason it was so challenging was that I didn't know how to effectively use my breath to the degree it was required. Breathing is important in all yoga styles but given the dynamic postures and emphasis on pranayama (practice of breath control) in kundalini, it's importance takes on a whole other dimension. You cannot cheat your way through that kind of endurance. So during the most difficult postures, I wasn't able to access my own power due to years of shallow breathing when I wasn't meditating or practicing yoga. It made me feel weak and frustrated and not just during my practice.

Nevertheless, I knew kundalini yoga must be good for me if I was having that strong of a reaction. I stuck with it. Over time, I learned to master my breath and it's effects have positively impacted my whole life. If I need to present to an audience at work but I'm feeling nervous, I can harness the power of my breath to calm me and get my point across at the same time. Anxiety and stress are more manageable and I feel connected to myself in a way that was missing before.

Think about it, how often do you make the time to get still and just tune into your breathing, let alone practice breathing in different ways to increase your stamina and strength? Your breath is the most powerful and widely available tool for success in daily life.