“You what?” she asked in disbelief. I told her again that I just finished writing a book. “Well, that’s shocking,” she said. “Considering you never read a book in high school.”
I was back in my hometown of Chicago visiting from Los Angeles, having dinner with friends I went to high school with twenty years ago. Even though I knew I had gone on to accomplish and experience a lot since then, her words still hurt; and all the memories of her from those earlier days came rushing back: the girl in Bermuda shorts, argyle socks to the knees, and penny loafers; the homecoming queen nominee, teacher’s pet, honor roll student (although it was rumored she cheated a lot!), and all-star soccer player; The perceived goody two shoes with her wide dimpled smiled but who was pretty darn naughty. The girl (I’m quite sure) had some clout in getting me nominated for the only award I ever received in high school: “biggest space cadet”.
I felt the pain of it all come back, the pain of never feeling like I was enough. The pain of being pegged: “biggest space cadet.”
But I also, finally, understood there was a good reason why I seemed like a chicken with its head cut off: I suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks. The room would spin and get dark; I couldn’t catch my breath; my heart and mind racing. I didn’t tell anyone for fear they’d think I was crazy.
It was so exhausting and depleting that I tried to escape it by running from one thing to the next, like a chicken with its head cut off, hoping it would take my mind off just how uncomfortable I was in my skin.
Only…subconsciously, I had no idea that’s what I was doing. That all my running around to compensate for an over-anxious mind made me disjointed and forgetful, and yes, I’m sure…seemingly flakey.
I started doing Kundalini Yoga and meditation in Los Angeles and, before I knew it, not even a 10.5 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale could drum up a panic attack.
The breath rebuilt my nervous system (all those panic attacks and racing thoughts strip your adrenal glands) and elevated my psyche, allowing me to be still and stable and feel calm and peaceful. It helped me become happy and successful and grounded. It put me on a path to writing a book, (not to mention reading up to 40 books a year but I was always a big reader) and finding the right guy.
But, mainly… it allowed me to stare back at this girl from high school with a very warped perception of who she thought I was and see a hurt person, too. Perhaps she was navigating through her own demons. It helped me find compassion.
I remembered a comment my kundalini yoga teacher once said during class: “Hurt people, hurt people.”
If you suffer from anxiety, have panic attacks, a racy mind, some depression, some eating disorder issues, or are just over sensitive, do the breathing exercise below for 3 minutes a day. Then check in next month for the most powerful meditation ever. One that will give you energy, decrease phobias and depression and alleviate anxiety. It will rock your world!
But first vow to do this breathing meditation for 3 minutes. You can start with one minute and build yourself up to 3 minutes over the next 30 days. (If you are female, don’t do this breath during the first 3 days of your menstrual cycle or if you are over 10 weeks pregnant).
Meditation; Breath of Fire:
Breath of fire is one of the most powerful breaths you can do. It rebuilds the naval (3rd chakra) and gives one a reserve of energy to pull from. It rebuilds nerve strength and stomach strength and alleviates depression and anxiety.
It feels awkward at first but it will come naturally after a few sessions, so stick with it! You can start with 1 minute and build yourself up to 3 minutes and then 11 minutes.
It is a rapid and even inhale and exhale through the NOSE (3-4 inhales/exhales per second). Don’t concentrate on the inhale that will take care of itself. Concentrate on pulling the belly button back toward the spine on each exhales. Remember the inhale and exhale are the same speed. To get a feel for how fast this breath is, stick your tongue out and pant like a dog. This is breath of fire, ONLY you do it through the nose.
Sitting in a cross-legged position with arms at 60-degree angle, thumbs pointing up and fingers touching mounds of palm close your eyes, rolling them up toward the point in between your brow and begin breath of fire. (See photos below.)
To end, pull your thumbs toward each other over your head then fan them down by your sides and sit still for 30 seconds.
About the Author: Amy KARL is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor, Marketing Director, Writer, and Blogger based in Scottsdale, Arizona. After completing an acting program at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Amy moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the famed Playhouse West Conservatory Program. Within a year, she booked a small movie role in an independent film and landed several national TV commercials, including Budweiser. Read More…