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Breathing to Heal

If breath is the essence of life, most people live unconsciously. Due to the fact breathing

is an automatic function, it is the most unconscious action we take throughout our day. Not

thinking about our breathe results in taking short shallow breaths. Shallow breaths, restrict our

ability to experience a fully conscious way of living. By taking control over my breath, I have

accomplished a new way of life.

Intentional breathing provides the nervous system with energy that calms the body and

mind. Breathing affects our autonomic nervous systems more than we realize. It turns off the

sympathetic system, the flight or fight response, and turns on the parasympathetic system. The

parasympathetic side controls rest and digestion, and by simply breathing we control half of the

nervous system. Today, many people’s sympathetic systems are in overdrive which causes

shallow breaths. My sympathetic system went into overdrive in 2012, when I became one of 12

adolescents in the nation5 to be diagnosed with a chronic disease. Today, this disease is

classified as Complement “3” Glomerulonephritis (C3GN). Since my nervous system is

dominated by the sympathetic half, I was never aware of my breathing and its affect on my

wellbeing.

After receiving my diagnosis, I began taking medications and steroid treatments that had

extreme side effects. I felt as if I was no longer in charge of how my body looked, felt, and

responded. Feeling powerless, I focused on physical fitness as a way to gain control over my

body. I became determined to keep moving by playing as many sports as possible. I tried

everything active, basketball, lacrosse, dance, running and weight lifting, in a search to find what
was most efficient in helping me regain control over my body and mind. It was not until years

later I tried yoga.

As my experience grew, I realized it was not the practice of yoga alone that had such an

impact on me. It was also the concept of how strong the connection between the mind and body

is, and how the breath is the most crucial element when bringing the two together. My

connection between mind and body was nonexistent since my diagnosis. I had subconsciously

created a barrier between my healthy mind and my unhealthy body in fear that this disease would

consume me mentally. However, after learning Vinyasa Yoga, I gained mental strength and

courage to acknowledge my condition, and face it head on daily. Now, I have immersed myself

into awareness of how the disease is impacting me. I’ve committed to creating a lifestyle that is

centered around the breath and invested in my health and wellness.

This new lifestyle began with daily exercise and conscious practice of my breathing.

Then my new discipline expanded to much more, and it became clear diet was also a key

component to becoming the healthiest I could be. When I began to live consciously, I developed

more positive relationships, set more goals, and began to recognize my passions were geared

towards nutrition, and the field of health and wellness.

Yoga rewarded me with a foundation to strengthen the bonds between the essential

elements of my own health. Understanding breath assisted me on my journey to a healthy

lifestyle. Now I strive to understand the inner workings of the human body and how it is affected

by what we eat and how much we “move”. With global issues on the rise such as obesity,

diabetes, eating disorders, and other diseases, I feel it is now more important than ever to help

change societies awareness about the power we all can have over our own lives through fitness
and nutrition. My educational and career goals are to help make change by empowering others,

about the importance of a physically healthy life, being mentally well, while breathing to heal.