My lungs can(‘t) handle it

Poor lungs. Weak lungs. Walking 4 NYC blocks = instant panting and pain in the lungs, throat, neck, shoulders, upper back + profusely sweating and dizziness. My lungs can’t handle it. Easily 10 years go by 2002-2012 and my breathing condition only continued to worsen. So much time passed that I have no memory of a single day in my adult life when walking from home to the subway was free of pain or dizziness. Being stubborn and discreet in nature, I didn’t talk about it much if at all. And I felt like I was the only person in the yoga class gasping for air. My lungs can’t handle it. Kapalabhati breath (Breath of Fire) only made me angry and frustrated. Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) was the only pranayama I could practice without wanting to scream.

2013 I move to Kauai. Twice a week I commit myself to go for “long” walks on the beach or the bike path. At Lydgate park, I aim to walk all the way to the former Kauai Beach Resort otherwise known as KBR. But for the first half a year I only barely make it to the big fence of Wailua golf course, -which is barely 1000ft away. My lungs and my body are numb. I see white stars. My lungs can’t handle it. I keep at it. There are far too many hikes and adventures I wish to explore solo or with my sisters and visiting friends. To swim is a dream even more unimaginable.

2014 three of my bestest craziest friends come out to visit Kauai. AT THE SAME TIME. Allow me to subtext for a moment. Do you have any idea how unlikely it is for THREE professional NYC musicians to have the same 2 weeks off in a lifetime? Next to zilch. I am thrilled. I am honored. And I’m going to be sure that they have the time of their lives. My lungs have to handle it. We go hard. Little sleep. Lots of adventure. Lots of partying. Everyday we wake up before dawn and explore and eat and drink our way through Kauai. I have to admit that with the three of them all Vata dosha dominant, it was a bit like herding cats. (I’m pitta). My ayurveda peeps will appreciate that side note…

On their next to last day, we haul ass early to the North Shore and hike the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapia’i Falls.  This is a strenuous no-joke hike along the stunning Napali Coast (click that link to see National Geographic talk about it) to get to the gorgeous waterfalls and then…hike all the way back (that’s the part when I silently pray for a helicopter to magically appear and fly me out). This is a hike I MIGHT be willing to do once every 3-4 years. Anything for my craziest bestest friends. About 4 miles in and during a particularly difficult part, my friend looks over at me and says very simply, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing. You would not have been able to do this just a year ago”. He was right. My lungs can handle it. 

I know my results have been painfully slow. I admire those who come to class and share their achievements that occur within months or even weeks. Mine have been years. Years! But you know what? Who the hell cares when I can breathe now and go on adventures? And guess what…I’m swimming now. I practice swimming in the ocean where my feet can’t touch the ground and I’m wearing a snorkel mask without the snorkel because…MY LUNGS CAN HANDLE IT. 

~ Namaste ~Monicajumpqueensbath



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