From Travesty to Transformation

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

In 1998 I first heard about Buteyko Breathing and by the

summer of 1999 I had become a practitioner. It jumped out

and grabbed me and literally changed my life. Not only

immediately for symptom control (I had been a “severe”

asthmatic since infancy), but also about 6 years later when it

dawned on me one day that my breathing pattern/style/

rhythm had completely changed. I was now a regular nose

and belly breather and I had developed a habit of “hanging

out in the pause after the exhale”. Stress and anxiety no

longer had a grip on me as they had before - I meditated, had

become a better listener (an often unexpected bonus from

shutting one’s mouth), spent significant times in nature and in

silence, and I was better able to deal with difficulties as they


Fast forward to January 2020. My health has improved

exponentially and the asthma is 90% under control. Small

breathing has become my MO and I am a seasoned traveller -

internationally as well as into the vast inner landscapes of

Self. My spiritual practice continues to deepen as I feel more

comfortable now dwelling in that place of the No breath. This

minimal breath opens an expansive territory of fertile

intuitive ground, from whence decisions can be made with


I had had a rough Autumn; finally coming full circle and

healing after 5 years (plus a lifetime) of simultaneously

difficult emotional situations - family deaths and illnesses,

complicated travel, hospice nurse work - way to much Grief!

And so of course my respiratory issues were exaggerated.

It felt at times like my lungs were shutting down, so

completely relaxed and safe in that minimal breath had I

become, maybe forever? Recent PFTs from the local hospital

were not good (although we Buteyko people realize that

doesn’t say much) and I stayed away from pulmonologists.

I also remained “awake” throughout - observing from a

distance while upping my daily breathing practice - feeling

strongly that I needed to expand my breath and respiratory

anatomy and physiology in general. And I wanted the

support of a daily practice, group or teacher for this life shift

to occur; it felt too big to do alone.

Enter Kundalini Yoga!

Much to my utter surprise (what a travesty it would have

been in my mind at one point to do hyperventilation

exercises!) after a phone conversation with my Buteyko friend

on an island far away, checking in for the New Year:

He: “I’ve committed to a 40 day kundalini practice. It feels

kinda crazy, long sustained periods of hyperventilation, but I

figure I can reset with Buteyko the rest of the time.”

Me: “Tell me more.”

He: “It’s online. They are awesome people and have beautiful

music. Mutual friends are also doing it. It’s a 40 day

commitment. It starts tomorrow.”

Me: “I’m in.”

It was that simple, exactly what I was calling in. After the first

week, I realized that my breathing was changing in a deeply

profound yet more subtle way, once again in my life.

My daughter when she heard, said in a slightly contemptuous

voice: “I can’t believe you’re doing this after telling us our

whole lives how bad it is!”

Me: “Think about how people go to the gym, workout, hike,

bike, swim… to exercise their bodies. This is like exercising

my lungs; they have needed a good workout for a long time.

It’s only an hour or so a day. Plus I feel more organized, am

tying up lots of loose ends and finishing projects. I’m starting

with the small ones and am moving closer to bigger ones like

getting my book written!”

I feel healthier, I am remembering to drink more water, I walk

vigorously across the rolling hills of Virginia several times a

week and have excellent endurance. I am grateful.



12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All