This is a very personal story dedicated to everyone aiming to increase body-mind health in their own life and in our world.
With 18 they told me I had allergic asthma. My lung volume was worryingly low and I had to get weekly shots. Just to give you an idea of what this meant during the day: Walking up to the second floor, I had to sit down on the stairs in the first floor to catch my breath. Not a sign of good health we can all agree.
My body’s message was clear, so I began to run. Well, I tried. I was able to go for 30 seconds (no joke – I timed myself) before my throat closed and I had to give up. No need to explain how frustrating and scary that was. I was determined to get healthy fast.
I also began to do martial arts, yoga and breathing exercises and (without knowing back then) began to develop the basics of what is now called Yuna.
Pushing beyond the limit
In martial arts the warm up was…yes, running in circles. Running. My specialty. Since I can be very stubborn, I refused to surrender to a reality of being sick. So I kept running even when my throat closed.
What happened? Everything went black and I still kept running, hoping to not bump into someone or stumble or black out. I refused to give up and pushed through. I kept running and pretended it’s a game where I am holding my breath while running. Needless to say this is quite drastic and I don’t recommend this – but hey, I said I was stubborn…I never said I was clever ; )
Strength is patience and perseverance
After pushing myself like crazy for a while without getting healthier, I turned to a much more effective option and began to allow myself to take breaks and actually listen to my body instead of pushing myself so hard.
What helped me expand my lung volume was a change within. I changed my mindset: I stopped being overly hard on myself and began to discover what it means to be strong instead.
Strength is perseverant. Strength has patience instead of being pushy. A strong mind knows the difference of when it is time to keep going in order to grow beyond limits and when it is time to take a break and recover.
I kept doing martial arts, breathing exercises and yoga and this new mindset made a huge difference. I actually began to find joy in challenging myself. I began to be playful where I found a physical limitation.
Strength can accept help
Also, Tom and I began running together and I learned about another aspect of strength: The ability to accept help. Tom was running regularly and in great shape. As you can imagine, I had to stop many times and while I was gasping and pounding, his pulse hadn’t even gone up.
But you know what he did? He stopped with me. Each and every time. He never went ahead without me. He never got annoyed that I was holding him back. Many times I told him that he didn’t need to do this. I felt guilty for holding him back but he kept telling me that he’d rather be by my side than run faster.
After a while, I finally heard him. All I needed to do was accept his help and be grateful for having this amazing man by my side.
I think this is what the angels in our lives deserve and want: Instead of telling them it’s ok to leave us behind, we simply need to accept their support and shower them with thank yous and appreciation. Help is always there. But it needs a being that accepts it. And let me tell you, it is a sign of strength – not weakness – to accept help.
A year went by and my lung volume was above average. My doctor couldn’t believe it. Two more years went by and I didn’t need shots any more. That was a big, big day. So far, so fantastic.
Any training can wear you out or re-energize you.
It’s all about the mindset.
It is not what you do,
it is how you do it.
A strong mind
It hurts to see people in a yoga class being competitive and serious or even frustrated instead of having a huge smile on their faces. It breaks my heart to see runners who look like they are being chased instead of looking all high and light.
Training should be fun, joyful and nurturing. It should be a party for body, mind and heart. If you torture yourself, how can your training be healthy? Life is hard, so you need to train hard? I disagree. Life can be hard, yep, so let’s face the challenges with playfulness to soften the challenges.
Re-programming cell memory
Years later Tom and I bought a tread mill. Focusing on other training methods, I had stopped running but this was a good reason to begin again. I hopped on and at a certain point in every run I had the same reaction that came completely out of the blue and was quite a surprise to me since I felt healthy and great: my throat closed, my body tensed up and my heart began to race like crazy.
What was going on? I realized that the fear of suffocating was still in my cell memory, even though I was completely healthy.
Guess what:It took more than 15 years to completely erase this information from my system. I suppose it took so long because the fear of not being able to breathe runs quite deep.
About a year ago I ran completely free from this reaction for the very first time. It was a big moment to feel that the memory of fear was completely gone. System re-programming: complete. Woohoo!
I am so very grateful that I can breathe freely – something many of you take for grated. It is a wonderful thing to feel blessed and free just when I notice my breath flowing.
I share this a lot in my Yuna classes: Finding joy in something we usually take for granted or tend to overlook. I share being strong instead of hard on oneself. I share how to not create a drama out of little things (believe me having experienced the body’s refusal to breathe, you get a new perspective on what is important and worth worrying about) …just to name a few aspects of Yuna that come from this part of my past.
If you are struggling with a health issue (or any kind of issue really) allow me to support you with what Tom used to tell me when I was gasping for air:
Take your time.
It’s ok to walk slowly, you don’t need to run (take this literally or figuratively).
It’s ok to take a break.
You can do this.
Dears, your health is your top priority – no matter if you are struggling with health stuff or not. Don’t ever have a guilty conscious when you put your health before anything else (btw: true health includes happiness).
Plus, please make sure to accept help and appreciate the angels in your life who are happy to support you.
I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without Tom’s constant love, support and belief in me.
It is ok to need help.
It is ok to not be perfect.
It is ok to be frustrated or desperate every now and then.
Make sure to pick yourself up every time.
Cultivate a positive mindset.
Listen to your body’s wisdom.
Having a breath that flows, a heart that beats, a life that is yours to create is a gift and pure magic.
May you all be healthy and happy.
Comment below and share your views, worries, stories, positivity and thoughts with me. Or send me a DM on Instagram @suzannefreiherz
Photo by Kiwihug.