Saturday, December 11, 2010


The breath is an amazing thing. It may be the one perpetual motion machine in the universe. The act of inhaling flows into the act of exhaling which flows into the next inhalation. A perfect balance of in and out, accompanied by a soft sigh of the wind as it changes direction.

Yogic teachings tell us that the breath is key to life. More than they know, for some think that grief resides in the lungs, settling into the chest and constraining the breath from its full potential.

Fortunately, we can force the breath, deeply exhaling and inhaling allowing the breath to release grief from the body as it passes out.

Sadly, when we grieve, the breath itself becomes restricted, forced, and might even shudder in the body. We forget to let the breath take the full course in our bodies, allowing the body to cleanse itself through respiration.

When we swim, as I have been doing a great deal of lately, we regulate the breath. The breath must occur at a particular moment in the stroke, as the body rolls to the side allowing the upstroke arm to come out of the water. This creates a well for the breath to occur with a quick turn of the head....a small window of opportunity for life to continue.

Breath is drawn and oxygen courses through the body, paying back a small debt that could have been so much greater, only to build again. The next few strokes, the breath is slowly, deliberately exhaled in a trail of bubbles, until the next window of opportunity opens in a well in the water.

At the moment, I feel like the only time that I breathe is in the pool...swimming is literally keeping me going right now, but I can't get enough of it. I can't swim long enough, despite an hour dedicated to it each time.

Today, I struggled with my breath. I could not get enough, I could not breathe long enough. My exhale was a quick release, instead of a slow burn. It all was difficult and disjointed. My body burned with oxygen debt and muscles ached. All was out of sync because I could not catch my breath.

I am grateful for my breath and tomorrow the breath will be better.

1 comment:

Batty said...

Wow, this really is amazing timing. Sometimes, the universe just works like that -- you look around, and it gives you what you need, in the most unexpected places.
Thank you. I will try to remember to breathe. And I wish you peace.