Just Breathe As the Saying Goes

After much too much time away, after juggling the demands of infant cries and very ill husband concerns, I have recently started back to yoga.  Prior to my children and when my husband was healthy, I practiced yoga on a regular basis.  As babies were born, work demands were still in place, and my husband’s health continued to decline into the very scary realm of grave uncertainly, taking care of my own needs certainly was not even a consideration.  My children are now much more self-sufficient with a 5-year old kindergartner at school and a very independent 3-year old in pre-school.  My husband is still very ill, but we are fortunate to have much nursing help at home and out-of-town guests who stay with us for extended visits to help.

Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs

Image via Wikipedia

In order for me to stay healthy and sane, I have decided to practice hot yoga.  My very out-of-shape self has been given a gift that was long overdo.

It has occurred to me over these past four weeks of yoga practice how much my husband would benefit if he could engage in yoga.  How cruel that something from which he would gain benefit is unavailable to him.  He has a tracheostomy and currently is very dependent on the ventilator.  He is so weak overall that he can’t stand up from a chair on his own, walk on his own, and requires the wheelchair in most instances when he does move some distance.  Yoga itself involves deep breathing, stretching, holding poses for minutes to gain strength and control.  The idea of Jim working through the poses or taking a breath, a deep breath, followed by many more on his own would be such a gift.  The kind of breathing that is natural.  The kind of breathing that the rest of us take for granted.  When Jim is off the ventilator, it is so difficult for him to breathe that his entire upper body heaves in and out.

So there I was at yoga, following the instructor’s calls to breathe in deeply – I could hear the room’s noise as we all complied in unison.  Then raising our arms to the ceiling to pause, we followed with an exhale.  Again, the entire room made noise.  One unified breath.  If we could only do that to help Jim.  One unified breathe to breath life into him.

As the room continued this “awareness of breathing” exercise, I knew I wasn’t doing well to concentrate on my own breathing.  I wandered to Jim during this time of yoga practice.  I wandered to possibilities.  I wandered to the saying “just breathe” to get you through tough days and moments.  It is ironic in a sense (“Just breathe Erica…. Oh no wait, your husband can’t breathe.  Maybe that was a poor choice of analogies”).  I wandered back to the possibilities.  I imagine Jim standing strong next to me one day and hearing him breathe and seeing him lift his arms to the sky.  What a gift that will be.  I imagine, rather than hearing the yoga room’s unified breathing, I hear only Jim’s.  I can again hear his breath, hear his voice, and after yoga, have a conversation with him that doesn’t involve him spelling out words on a writing board.

“Just Breathe” to me doesn’t signify getting through a difficult day, to me “just breathe” is an image in a yoga studio that will come to be soon.  Not soon enough, but it will happen.  I can be patient and I can breathe slowly waiting for that beautiful moment.



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