Day 15: Breathing with half a nose.

When I come in to a dark studio I see Ronn laying on his back with headphones listening to his Spanish language lessons on a podcast. This is the calm that I need right now and I lay down on a mat to wait for him to finish. Ronn eventually sits up and tells me that a very important exercise has been missing from our practice that he was reminded about over the weekend. He explains to me about the meditative power of alternative nostril breathing and shows me what it looks like.

It’s funny, but it is those kind of combination moves like Bertina had me doing yesterday that I am always drawn towards. I wonder if it helps me to have to constantly think of the next move so that my unpracticed mind doesn’t wonder over to the constant noise that I am churning out of my brain.

Practicing alternate nostril breathing takes concentration especially when Ronn guides me to fill my abdomen with the air that is entering into my body at 50% capacity due to having one side of my nose siphoned off. It slows down my brain considerably and the feeling of rich breath that I have when we end the exercise and begin to breathe through both sides again is wonderfully energizing. It’s sort of like when you move around with weights on your ankles for an hour and then are rewarded with the physical levity that you experience when you finally take them off.

Towards the end of class my phone starts to ring and my stomach begins to clench. I know who it is. There is maybe just 10 minutes of class left so I ignore it, figuring that I’ll call back in a few minutes when we’re done. The ringing stops and we start some of our final stretches. I try to keep my mind on this last stretch before heading back into the world as the phone starts to ring again. Block it out, block it out. And then again. Surely that will be it. And again. And again. At the sixth time, I apologize to Ronn and he tells me that it’s fine to go answer the phone. When I finish, I am on the verge of tears that he has needled his way into one of the safest places I have to go. Meshugana, I sputter in frustration as Ronn calmly waits for me to settle back down for final meditation. Let it go, he says kindly.

So I try. One more time. Because that’s all I can do to keep going forward. I straighten my spine and imagine a photo that I have from an earlier session where I am sitting in alignment at peace and I try to get back to that healthy space again. Stones resting effortlessly one on top of the other. The universe taking care of the rest.




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