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Breathing Through Grief to Joy

A yoga teacher trainee experiences Max Strom’s breath work

Illustration of bear sleeping with girl

Huntress by Sandra Diekmann

I have just emerged from the first of three sessions in the yearlong journey of yoga teacher training with Max Strom, author A Life Worth Breathing and There Is No App for Happiness. In one of his TED talks, Strom points out that the only people in this country who are regularly taught breathing exercises are pregnant women. Think about that: The best way to successfully manage life’s most extreme physical pain and anxiety without drugs is through breathing. Yet we don’t teach breath work to everyone as a fundamental tool for health and happiness.Max is helping to lead the change. What I did not expect during yoga teacher training and breath work was an encounter with my own grief.I’m a singer. In voice training, we discussed diaphragmatic breathing, with the primary focus on the belly going in and out. Max flips this concept on its head, urging us to pull the belly in. With practice, he says, this action will protect the lower back. However, when first introduced, it feels awkward.Beyond this, he says to push the ribs outward, to the sides. Initially I find this impossible. I had read his books and don …

As Deputy COO of Spirituality & Health Media, Meggen Watt Petersen contributes her expertise across the board, including to the editorial team. She has written on matters of interfaith or international relations throughout her career.

This entry is tagged with:
BreathPranayamaYoga Teacher TrainingEmotional HealingYoga

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