By Deb Martin and Dr. Kandy Taylor Love, Ph.D., LMT, Iyengar Yoga Instructor
“Our breath is a sacred gift. It is an exchange between the outer world and our inner world. Each inhale we take is a precious drink of life, an individuation of the eternal life force. Every exhale is a merging back into the eternal.” – Bhava Ram
In these times of uncertainty and upheaval on so many levels of our physical, mental, emotional, and social worlds, the principles, and practices of holistic and natural medicine can make the difference in our happiness, health…and indeed, our Life Force!
In Chinese Medicine, Life Force is assessed with great awareness. Doctors of Oriental Medicine become very adept at sensing their patients’ level of vitality. It is a form of “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). It is primal and is a primary input to the treatment protocol they will use for this individual patient. This “Qi” or “Life Force” is indicative of the person’s level of health in all areas: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In the Ayurvedic tradition from India, the breath is called “Prana” and the breathing practice is called “Pranayama”. I have recently taken a three-week class with Dr. Kandy Taylor Love and have developed a lovely evening practice. I look forward to this each night, and it brings a level of quiet that is not only delightful, but it is also healthful. I am sleeping better than ever!! And as you all know from last month’s newsletter, a night of good sleep is required for great health.
REASONS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LIFE FORCE
Breath awareness is a very practical entry point to a new level of health. With this practice you will find many different kinds of breath:
breath to bring calm
breath to unleash energy
breath to increase strength
breath to bring sleep
breath to increase health
breath to improve mental acuity
breath for a longer life!
HOW TO BEGIN: PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
Start by Being Aware.
Awareness in any moment provides the opportunity to change your body chemistry. With a few deep breaths, you may reduce your blood pressure, your anxiety, and more. Sometimes we just don’t realize we are anxious. When we pay attention AND give the cells of our body more oxygen, our brain can stop racing too.
Find YouTube Videos of how the body breaths (anatomy overview).
Some Hints: Breathing happens in the lungs in the chest cavity, not the stomach, and is circumferential (round) vs up and down; carve out a time daily to practice, whether it’s 5 minutes, 20, or 30.
We are fortunate at Lotus Blossom Clinic to have Kandy Taylor Love in our midst. Kandy has studied pranayama for at least 25 years, and she gives classes in breathwork. The next 3-part class begins Saturday, November 7 at Lotus Blossom Clinic. See more info and register online. (Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1 pm). Call the clinic for further information or to register: (239) 277-1399.
Note: We have a powerful HEPA filter to keep the air free of droplets, and there is plenty of room for social distance.
Set up a Home Practice.
Schedule practice for the same time each day, when possible.
Empty bladder and bowls before beginning
Choose the best practice position for you, supported seated or supported reclining, and have it set up comfortably ahead of time, eliminating as many distractions as possible. (E.g., turn off the ringer on your phone.)
Gentle chest opening, twisting, and legs lifted resting are recommended beforehand.
Do not practice when the mind or body is dull and depressed, or very activated.
Rest supine after practice
CONCLUSION and A BEGINNING?
I hope you are intrigued, and I highly recommend you begin exploring or deepening your knowledge of the ancient practice of Ayurvedic breathwork. I am almost sure that you will be as surprised as I was how easy and attractive the process becomes with every succeeding day you practice. The studies show longer, healthier, and happier lives are a wonderful side effect! One lengthy article in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine from early 2019 has data on everything from changes in blood chemistry (e.g. for stress) to athletic recovery times.
Blessings to you as you consider, study, and/or begin this magical journey to either start or enhance your Breathing Practice! We leave you with two more lovely quotes:
“The breath must be enticed or cajoled. It is more like catching a horse in a field, NOT by chasing after it, but by standing still with an apple in one’s hand. Nothing can be forced; receptivity is everything.” – BKS Iyengar
“Embrace this flow of breathing as you would something infinitely valuable, and you will know peace.” – Lorin Roche
Dr. Kandy Taylor Love, Dr. David Martin & Deb Martin
…and all the Practitioners at Lotus Blossom Clinic
Serving the Greater Fort Myers area with Natural and Holistic Medicine, including Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Science-backed Food as Medicine, Energy & Transformational Sessions…and over 30 monthly Community Classes & Events!