Thursday, July 21, 2011

The things we take for granted

How long does it take you to inhale slowly to the fullest capacity of your lungs? Before reading on, try it now—inhale slowly and count slowly while doing so. What number did you reach? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? More? Now scroll down and read the rest of this post.
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On Tuesday afternoon I met a man who has a terminal lung condition. In conversation, it came up that I teach yoga. This led to me telling him about the One Minute Breath:


Inhale for 20 seconds (through the nostrils)
Hold for 20 seconds
Exhale slowly for 20 seconds (through the nostrils)

Because of his difficulty in breathing, he told me he couldn't do twenty seconds.  I explained that not everyone could at first, but eventually they are able to build up to it as their lung capacity expands.

I suggested ten seconds. He shook his head.

I suggested five seconds. He shook his head.

I suggested three seconds. He hesitated, shrugged and said "Okay, I'll try."

We inhaled together for three seconds, held for three, exhaled for three. His face lit up. "Let's go again." 

After the second time he paused and said: "You know . . . something feeling different already."  His eyes were glinting with excitement.

The third time, I almost cried when I saw pride and victory sweeping across his face as he realised he could make it to three seconds consecutively. Something that most of us take for granted—our ability to inhale and exhale without even thinking—could be the climbing of Mount Everest for someone else.

How many other things do we take for granted?

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Lots, but I do take time to count my blessings as well as my breaths (which are also blessings)...8