Yoga Journal Blog: Samadhi & the City

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« San Francisco: Snatam Kaur | Blog HomePage | San Francisco: Get in the Green Zone »

New York: Breathing Into Sanity

Lotus_Hand1.jpg In addition to being a yogi, writer, New Yorker, crafty girl, and a spirit living in a material world, I'm a survivor of cancer. A kind of cancer that has no "cure." Meaning, in the three years since I was successfully treated with chemotherapy, I must regularly go in for various tests and proddings.

I'm down to an annual scan, which is a blessing, though I'm noticing that going so long in between ratchets up the anxiety to a whole new, triplex level of dread and fear. So, what's a good yogi to do? She breeeeeathes. When she remembers.

The other night when my doctor told me my CAT scan would be moved up a week due to some slightly disturbing blood results, I held it together at work long enough to find a pranayama and meditation class at Integral Yoga. It was only when I was sitting in the tiny room on the 4th floor with only two other students and the teacher, Gordon, that it occurred to me that if I was a normal NYer, I'd be at a bar now, two sake-tinis in.

But instead, I listened to Gordon's patient instructions to feel the breath moving across my upper lip, to expel all the "bad air" in a vigorous kapalabhati, to balance the hemispheres of the body with a slow, easy alternate nostril breathing.

And, amazingly, I felt better. Less crazed with fear, more aware of my body, with my breath to keep me going. I get my scan results tonight. My breath is going to be my BFF today as I pretend to be a functional employee. And hopefully I will have happy news to report. And if for some reason I don't--sake-tini, anyone?

UPDATE: Whew. All is clear and well.
Opportunities to breathe in the city abound. Here are some at Integral:

The class I went to, which seems to happen periodically: Meditation and Pranayama

My friend's sister, Carla Dharani Ardito, is teaching The Path of Breath on July 17

And in June is Yoga of Breath.

Go to for more.

How do you use conscious breathing to stay sane? Or do you have any fave classes to share?


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