Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Breathe Easy

I'm a junkie.

Yes, I admit it, I'm addicted to deep abdominal respiration. It's become something of a habit due to years of yoga, zen, and martial arts. In fact, I'm so used to it that it's almost impossible for me to chest breathe consciously.

Which is why this year's hay fever is killing me.

It's my first spring in the Kyo, which means this invisible enemy is being launched from vegetation to which my lungs haven't yet had the priviledge of meeting. The 'Nog was far kinder, being swept by gentle (and not so gentle) sea breezes. But this city is in a bowl, which places me in a tupperware of pollen.

It's ironic, in a way, since what I do for a living is teach breathing. And I'm always amazed at the effects a slight difference in technique can have on me. Years ago, while in the dojo preparing for my third-dan iaido grading, I suddenly noticed how unsettled I felt. It dawned on me that this feeling was being caused by upper chest breathing due to stress about the test. These days, besides that same unsettled feeling, I feel tired all the time, my shallow breath leading to shallow sleep and lack of good REM. Plus I'm really agitated, getting flustered at simple things like red lights. (But who wouldn't really? The whole traffic system in this country seems to be designed like a 1960s board game. "Oh, I afraid you can't advance until you roll double-sixes.")

Next Tuesday, I teach my monthly yogic breathing class. What a poor role model I've become...

On the turntable: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, "Love Their Country"
On the nighttable: Aaron Cometbus, "I Wish There was Something I Could Quit"

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