Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Learning to Breathe Again
No, this is not a post about an emotional breakthrough or learning to relax, it is about breathing. Literally. My acupuncturist has been trying to convert me to joys of abdominal breathing. This is, essentially, allowing your stomach to expand when you inhale and thinking about letting your lungs fill up from the bottom up instead of the top down. He tells me this is the more natural way for people to breathe and it's how we breathe as children. Also, it can cure getting a tight upper back and shoulders, because our lungs are attached up there, too, so when we breathe only into the upper part of our chests, we put extra strain on our back and shoulder muscles.

I'm willing to be convinced. I know that it feels like I'm breathing more deeply when I do this. But have you ever tried to retrain yourself in how to breathe? It is so strange to suddenly have to be thinking about my breathing consciously. Standing in line at the post office is a good place to practice, I've discovered, as is walking home. But how in the world did he ever get to the point where it became automatic? He claims it cut down his mile running time from 8 minutes to 5.5 or so, simply because he never seemed to run out of air, but I can't even begin to imagine doing that.

On the other hand, I think part of the reason I wasn't very affected by the altitude back when I was in Chile and Peru, at one point being up at 4500m, was because I've lived all my life as an asthmatic who didn't get enough oxygen anyway. If I train myself to breathe better, will I lose my super powers?

Not that I've been making much use of my super powers. Clearly I should move to some high altitude place and solve crimes by being able to move faster than everyone else. What else could a thin-air breather do to use her powers for good?

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