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Breath in every moment.

We breathe without thinking until something makes us catch our breath, breathe faster or even gasp for air.

I took my first yoga class in 8th grade. Our dance teacher at school decided it was too beautiful a day to be inside and led us out to the lawn where we laid in the grass and listened to our breath. She led us through tensing and relaxing our bodies—part by part and then through a yoga class that changed my life. I loved it. My body, growing 3 inches a year at that time, loved it. I could do it and at that time I never felt athletically capable with anything except with skiing. More on skiing in a minute.


Photo by Larry Stanley of Mt during Cowgirls vs Cancer retreat 2015

Years of singing and acting and Alexander Technique led to a great appreciation for my breath and it’s abilities to hold a long note, reach a high note, or be heard at the back of a theatre. (Even got me called back when I auditioned for a part that called for a single blood curdling scream. but I was too tall…ah well.)

Breath relaxes you to give birth, or have something painful done to your body. It can drive you forward in the gym or help you pick up something heavy.

I had pneumonia and couldn’t be more appreciative of the lovely feeling of drawing a breath deeply after I was well.

And yes, I did take that picture after being surprised by one dolphin who came much closer than these guys!

This past summer we went out swimming with dolphins.

This was my third time I think. And, as always, I needed to concentrate on my breath in order to relax and not panic breathe underwater. I have to actually pay attention and then everything calms down. The result? 40 dolphins surrounded me and swam with me for quite some time. All I did was float and breathe through my snorkel. Before anyone has an issue with this experience let me say that I was in the wild, they were doing their dolphin life and I was merely floating and observing. If they wanted to leave they could and eventually did. But for a time I was surrounded. A stunning and magical experience.

Which leads me to yesterday.

I hadn’t gone skiing in two years. I was excited and my biggest issue my first day on the slopes is always to stay with my current style of skiing and not back track to how I learned. I learned in the 1970’s and it was different because the equipment was different. It was much harder on your knees than modern equipment.

As I started my second run I started to time my breath with my turns and magic happened. I relaxed and I stopped forcing my turns old school style and also I began to feel the mountain. The next day I chose a song to sing to time my turns and it was even better!

Looking forward to next year…and until then I will remember that taking a breath makes everything better and easier.


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