The trees around us are pollinating. Big Time. There are high pollen count warnings in the news. With red puffy eyes, watery nose and a constant cough I am not alone. I suffer with many. As we would walk down the street clutching a hanky or napkin “just in case” we would eye on another with compassion. “I know how you feel” we said in passing. Smiling and nodding the other replied “but look how beautiful the gardens are!” We found acceptance of our condition in the fact that it is seasonal. And then I stopped going for walks. It was just too hard to move quickly and breathe. All I did was cough. Oh, how I miss my breath. Deep, long, full breaths will start a coughing fit of untold duration and violence enough to cause incontinence. Not pleasant, not desirable, and not soothing. These past few weeks I have been breathing in a shallow manner, up high, behind and only to the top of my chest – trying to avoid any part of a tickles that will set off paroxysms of hacking. I take in short, thin, weak streams of air; just enough to so satisfy my need for oxygen, but only just. With shallow breathing comes a sense of panic and anxiety. I didn’t notice it for a few days – but my behavior was showing it. I was curt and impatient. I was feeling a little frightened and unsure. And then, it came back to me when I was teaching about the usefulness of the breath– short shallow breathing instigates the fight or flight reflex! Of course I am anxious- I am starving my brain and causing my nervous system to react in the negative manner. So rather than “grin and bear it” I have to slow down and take care of myself. Use steam, drink even MORE hot water, add honey and lemon. Stay inside when it is breezy. Feed by body and my brain with ample air. Breathe deeply when I am able and enjoy the sweetness of a long deep breath whenever I can take one.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com