I am officially and boldly going to unmask my thoughts on masks as masks (by necessity) are fast becoming the newest trends being seeded in the fashion world today.
I don’t like wearing a mask. I don’t like looking at people wearing a mask. I don’t like to see children, hikers, bikers, runners, or lone dog walkers wearing a mask. It is because of masks, I don’t like to go to my favorite malls, department stores, grocery stores, or any other public display of maskers.
Ok, so you may or you may not agree with me, but please don’t take offense to my own thoughts and feelings. I don’t dislike you, nor is it an attack on you if who choose to wear one.
I will preface this by adding that I assure all of you who are concerned that I wear a mask where I’m told to. Inside markets, stores, and all places that say I must cover up to be allowed to enter,
From the beginning of all of this I was wondering if I am alone in the feeling of suffocation while wearing a mask. Am I the only one who feels that I am in the midst of a claustrophobic hot flash and after 15 minutes I need to rip it off? According to my ex-doctor, I was just having an anxiety attack.
While others tell me that they forget that they are wearing a mask, I can’t hold a phone conversation while I’m masked because I am fatigued from lack of oxygen. I can’t breathe well after a short time, so my world view seems to be very different then those I see and share it with.
I have bought a few different types of masks based on recommendations. The latest was suggested to me by the millennial at the athletic store who says that every one of her friends wear these because they can exercise with them on without a problem. Ok, great I’ll try it. Well, at first that mask seemed a little bit better but, it has a wire that I need to continuously re-adjust so it will give me some space to breathe, but no real difference there.
in one of my pleated masks I cut an invisible slit under my nose so I could sneak some fresh air and be able to breathe but someone saw it and scolded me so that didn’t work.
Besides the physiological effects from covering my nose and mouth in the name of “health” I am continuously saddened by seeing an expressionless society. I can’t tell if someone is smiling (there goes the myth about “smiling eyes”) frowning, happy or sad, This is soemthing that I hope to never get used to
So I was thinking about what I do, and how I have lived for quite some time (most of my life). I breathe for a living. I teach, practice, and live about Breath. Maybe I’m a breathing nurd but I have seen throughout forty years of practicing and teaching yoga and pranayama that most people are shallow breathers. If I sit next to a shallow breather I feel claustrophobic. Teaching about the breath is teaching a foreign language to most students. But I persevere.
I had an epiphany the other day while watching a masked man walking alone on a deserted street. My mind honestly first went to “why is he wearing a mask?” Then, “Doesn’t it bother him? How can he breathe?” I admit it, I did have those thoughts but then my higher self interrupted my critical self and reminded me that breathing was not everyone’s focus in life 24/7. Quite the contrary as luckily we breathe regardless if we think about it or not.
I Breathe for Living. I Live to Breathe. I Breathe to Live. Whatever T-shirt I decide to create, I am hoping that this “new abnormal” is short lived. I want to SEE people smiling again.
Now stop for a take a deep breath. Here are a few simple but valuble ways to awaken your awareness of breathing that will get you in touch with your body through deeper breathing while helping to bring a more calm state of mind.
For one whom never notices one’s breath start paying attention to your breathing
Take a seat in a chair that gives you a firm support so that you are able to lift your spine with some support. Imagine as you inhale that you are taking your breath up your back and as you inhale down the front. This will bring into your awareness of feeling your back expand and your spine lift with each inhalation.
To continue, here are a few very simple breathing practices that one of my favorite teachers in Italy posted that will help with elastisity and strength for your lungs
1. Cleansing breath
- Stand straight (preferably outside early in the morning) with the feet at hip width
- Inhale completely, raising the arms sideways up over the head
- Hold the breath and start lightly tapping the shoulders, sternum, ribs, and back ribs. Drop the arms.
- Turn the trunk to the right (keeping the hips facing straight forward) and expel the air forcefully through the open mouth
- Repeat this whole process on the left.
- Repeat both sides five times
2. Walking breath
- Walk around for about five minutes (preferably outside early in the morning ) while counting five steps during inhalation and five steps during exhalation
- What could be more simple!