Breathe is the soul of self-care.
It is with us from birth until death; it is our inspiration, our expiration, and our life force. Breathe can calm us, excite us, trap us, and free us. It is the most powerful tool we have in mind/body care.
My journey started in 1993 when I signed up for a ten-week yoga series in a rented room in a Midtown office building. Studying social work at NYU, I was working daily with extremely disenfranchised, mentally ill, elderly New Yorkers. To process the energy and information I was taking in daily I desperately needed to find a place to practice. I desperately needed a place to breath.
I was so lucky to find it within this eclectic Wednesday evening hatha yoga class in Midtown. The teacher and community were phenomenal. A traditional class, we learned breathing practices first and foremost. Pranayama. It is, after all, the foundation of yoga. I experienced the shallowness of my breath and learned the difference between my breath in fullness and no breath at all.
After class, I would take the subway down from Midtown to Greenwich Village feeling “high.” I would get off the train near Washington Square Park, smell the marijuana in the air, and think - “I’m good, thanks.” I bought a falafel, ate it there in that tiny shop, and experienced a natural state of blissful calm I had never felt before…
That calm became the seed that would eventually grow into Namaste.