Bubbling Over

Confession: It wasn’t yoga that taught me how to harness my breath.  

Before I had ever heard of pranayama or mindfulness, my adventurous young adult self took up scuba diving lessons. I became hyperaware of the oxygen-rich atmosphere we oh so casually access as land dwellers as we forged a boot camp approach to prana (breath) yama(control).

Early in the classroom scuba training, my typical what-if anxiety scenarios kicked in. We sketched out calculations in which time, depth and air pressure directed an output of “safe” or “drowned.” Simple math under pressure was not my forte. Thankfully, I learned, this would serve as back-up to a dive computer, but a keen awareness of air supply remained.

At my final check-out dive, I suited up, eyeing my tank, hoses and regulator more as life support than gear. I tasted the last gulp of air before inserting my mouthpiece and embarking on a truly sink-or-swim lesson in breath work with four key teachings.

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