Adriana Palanca (a great writer and a yogi who has recently added some tango to the mix) wrote something a couple weeks ago that absolutely stuck in my head:
… you don’t breathe to improve your yoga practice, instead you practice yoga to improve your breathing.
Somewhere in my head I knew this, but reading it right there in the open was such a reminder. I took yet another frustrating yoga class the other night. (I really must stop going to random classes at my gym instead of making it to the ones that I know have good instructors!) Every asana was shown correctly, and she even had good reminders, but either she has the smallest lungs in the world or she forgot that yoga is all about breathing. She said the words “inhale” and “exhale” over and over, only without the time needed to actually inhale and exhale! I felt like I was running a race.
But the point is that a good yoga class will help you breathe better. And each yoga class will help you bring that breathing into your life more and more consistently. Until one night you are dancing tango, and for a few moments you remember to breathe while dancing. Some nights I am very attuned to my breath, and when that happens I use it to fully dance. In modern dance it is the same—you can use your breath to propel yourself and suspend yourself and fully commit yourself to the movement.
When my partner is really breathing, and I am really breathing, I feel like we can really dance the music together. We can dance the feeling that is created by our breath within the space of the dance floor and the music. Even just a single moment where we both remember to breathe can bring us back into the moment, to each other.