Life has got its own way of teaching us many lessons but what about the true essence of life which is breath? It is ironic how the most important thing in life is breathing and yet it is what we take most for granted. Such is this week’s story highlighting the importance of breath and how one can improve the quality of it through the practice of yoga.
While driving home Ella was thinking of all the exciting moments coming her way as well as all the work yet pending for her wedding day. It was just a few days away and she yet couldn’t gather all her thoughts when suddenly she felt a car crash into hers. To assimilate what exactly had happened wasn’t possible but when Ella gained consciousness she realized that she was in a hospital room. As she felt her parents next to her she even noticed that they had a very tense look on their faces. As she took each breathe it just seemed so difficult even though she had a nebulizer on. Ella could feel her body soar and observed all those bruises and bandages on her body. She tried talking but failed after various attempts. Before she could get more anxious, the doctor held Ella by her hand and told her that due to the accident she has suffered many injuries but will be healed with time. Unfortunately, she would need to use the nebulizer for quite some time before she would be able to breath naturally.
Ella was so shocked that she just burst into tears while her mother hugged her tightly. She couldn't believe how in a matter of seconds her life had taken such a drastic change. She had so many dreams of getting married, having kids, being a successful entrepreneur, and growing old next to her partner. But now it all just fizzled away because of this accident and she couldn't do anything about it. As she opened her wet eyes that at one time were full of illusion and now only full of despair, she noticed that her fiancee was not there so she asked her parents to call him. They kept on refusing and eventually she understood that he no longer had any interest in her whatsoever. She wrote many letters to him with the hope that he will at least come to meet her but shortly after that her parents told her to stop as he had married someone else. That truly broke her heart as she loved him and believed that he reciprocated with the same emotion. But now all those promises and commitments simply disappeared as her health gave way. When she needed him the most was when he decided to leave her and move on in life. Conversely she knew that she would have stood by him if he would have undergone this misery. Days became into months as she just lied on the hospital bed and struggled for natural breath having all those thoughts of rejection. What could change this feeling of unworthiness? Would everything be normal every again in her life? Would she be able to drive again or get goose bumps just coming in front of the steering wheel? These were some of the many questions that haunted her day and night. So, that was the reality and she had to live with it for the rest of her life. But then she thought to herself that even though nothing is in her control, there is one thing that she can control and that is her thought pattern. Until she didn't believe that she can breathe without the help of a nebulizer, everything would remain as painful as it presently was for her.
So she decided to start this battle with her negative thoughts and began to convince herself that she could naturally breathe like before. The next morning her parents came to take her home and as she walked through the hallway of the hospital she had decided that she will return after six months to visit the doctor but without any nebulizer. In fact she told the same to the doctor and he just laughed at her in disbelief. As soon as Ella reached home, she started to research on ways to treat breathing issues after an accident. There were various options online but what she felt was the solution to her problem was yoga. She discovered that Yoga offers a great opportunity to explore the quality of the breath and breathing patterns. Yoga shows you how to breathe in the most natural way possible, relaxing your mind and body. As when we breathe properly we are connected and are able to listen to our body’s needs. Also, deep breathing provides a gentle massage to the internal organs and spinal chord, helping nutrients reach where they should. Including, it gives oxygen to the blood, thus nourishing the cells and eliminating toxins from the body.
So she noted six months on the calendar and focused on it daily as she tried to remove the nebulizer and breathe naturally. But she could barely be a few seconds without the nebulizer when again she would begin gasping for breath. She couldn't understand why there wasn't even a bit of improvement but still didn’t give up. Day by day she timed the seconds to notice any improvement in her breathing pattern. She followed all the instructions on practicing breathing exercises such as anulom vilom and pranayam. As a few months passed by, there was still no change and she was as dependent on that nebulizer as when she left the hospital. So she understood that there was something that was going wrong and she had to figure it out. She needed to recollect all those actions and thoughts that she had been doing till now to conclude what was failing. Nonetheless, even after days of reflecting on everything, she was unable to understand where the problem lied.
The next day a neighbor came home and as expected started to share some gossip with her mother when she suddenly overheard her saying that her ex-fiancee’s wife was expecting. As soon as she heard it she started breathing heavily even though she had the nebulizer on. Her mom ran to her room as she heard Ella throw a glass on the floor as a cry for help. Her mother quickly increased the medication on her nebulizer and tried calming her down. Soon after that Ella fell asleep but suddenly woke up with that answer to her query. Now she understood from this situation that her breathing was not improving as she hadn’t let go of her past with him. She needed to forgive her ex-fiancee to get her breath back. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she finally figured it out and then began working on it. She visualized him happy with his family and her being happy for him. Ella worked on detaching herself from that pain as she owed it to herself.
There were three months left and again she began practicing pranayam and anulom vilom throughout the day and even at night. At the end of those three months few seconds of natural breathe became into minutes and then hours. The next morning as Ella stood in front of the mirror getting ready to go to meet the doctor, she stared into her eyes and smiled. She knew that she had accomplished something that doctors thought was impossible. She got both her breath and life back. Now she could lead a normal and healthy life without any health issues. So when she entered the doctor’s cabin, he got up from his chair all startled and was shocked to see Ella without the nebulizer. She smiled at him and explained her journey of those six months to him.
While her mother drove her home she knew that the next target to work on was her fear of driving. She now knew that she would definitely drive soon as nothing is impossible and only our minds believe in limitations. So focus on each and every breath of yours as you never know how valuable it is until you lose it.