Monday, 12 October 2009

The ups and downs of breathing

TYA yoga teacher Dee emailed with this experience of breathwork off the mat and up in the air. Enjoy her story:

From the very first time I tried using my breath to help me in paschimottanasana I knew the power of the exhalation in yoga.

I first took that idea off the yoga mat when giving birth to my second child – a wonderfully, earthy, natural experience. But only yesterday, I was surprised and delighted at how far into my psyche this breathing lark has buried itself, ready to be drawn upon in times of need.

I am practically allergic to adrenalin and my now teenage children and husband love teasing me about it! Whatever possessed me to offer to take them to the steam fair in Reading I do not know.

I have not been on a fairground ride since I nearly threw up aged 16. I suppose I got carried away laughing at the glee on my children’s faces as they rose and dipped on the mechanical bomber planes, giggling their heads off, just like when I used to tickle them as toddlers.

They said I should go on the next ride with them and seeing what harmless fun they were having I ... agreed.

We climbed aboard the huge swinging boat and took our seats. It wasn’t until the girl taking the money suggested we hold on tightly that the first frisson of fear crept into my body.

I tightened my hold and shortened my breath. I thought hollering at the zenith of each swing would make things better. It really didn’t. It just made me more tense and fearful. Suddenly without giving it too much thought, a very loud urge to ‘just breathe’ surfaced.

I fixed my gaze on a particular tree to try to stop the sea-sickness developing, and watched my breath come in and go out, trying each time to extend the outbreath and even to co-ordinate the outbreath with the zenith of the swing each time, as that was the scariest part.

Although I was still scared, I managed to get off the ride after far too long, smiling smugly at my secret weapon against adrenalin! And my family was giggling at how I became very quiet after those initial 3 screams – they knew exactly what I was up to with the breathing, which means I have educated them too!!

So thanks to yoga and breathwork I got to enjoy the fun of the fair again after umpteen years.

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