“Life is in the breath, and those who only half-breathe, half-live.” Yoga proverb
This country needs to take a chill pill and exhale; it’s been holding its breath for way too long. I keep reading and hearing about all the hate and disrespect floating around and it makes me sad and angry, and I want to do something about it. The problem is I can’t change all those people’s minds, but I can change my attitude and focus on being the change I want to see in this world. How am I doing that? By not letting my emotions overwhelm me and remaining calm as much as I can. There is a great quote by the Chinese philosopher, Mencius, who said “If you know the point of balance, you can settle the details. If you can settle the details, you can stop running around. Your mind will become calm. If your mind becomes calm, you can think in front of a tiger. If you can think in front of a tiger, then you will surely succeed.”
Right now we are all confronting the tiger that is COVID-19, and his sisters are fear and uncertainty. When I hear of an injustice, like a senseless killing or wanton looting and rioting, my initial response is to go murder the bums, you know? Right the wrong (and might makes right, correct?). Then I take a deep breath and return to a rational state of mind, and remind myself that the best way to overcome evil and hate is to treat those around me with love and respect. We all “must be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Plato) Is it any more difficult to be nice to someone as to be mean and nasty? Truly, we can all do a better job of treating our neighbors with kindness and respect.
Here’s your homework: a breathing exercise that doubles as a back stretch and as a meditation. This is the Cat/Cow stretch, and it will help loosen up your back and improve your breathing, and help you to relax. Get on to your hands and knees on a carpet or rug. Arch your back like an angry cat, exhaling out all your air, tucking your pelvis under and bringing your chin to your chest. Then inhale while dropping your back, looking up and pushing your rear end up, sagging like an old cow. Do this slowly and easily 8 to 10 times, at least once a day.
For more breathing exercises, give me a call, or better yet, stop by for an adjustment and I’ll go over all the exercises with you. We’re open, following the CDC guidelines (masks can be optional) and doing all we can to remain compliant. I’m also teaching my Flex Appeal stretching class via Zoom every Monday from 12:30 to 1:30. There’s plenty of room (on Zoom). Be well. Dr. Ben