In this current time of global crisis when anxiety and fear, and all our other hindrances come to bear their burden; without yoga, how do we maintain our center, other than how we always do, by breathing?   I have been emphasising this for about the last 18 months in newsletters, blogs, and in replying to queries and lessons….  It’s not just a matter of what happens on the mat – it is a 24/7 practice.  As Patanjali said “no gaps”.

It seems that the population hasn’t registered the fact that COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness – therefore, it links it quite strongly with the power of our breath (I don’t understand any more than you do, the manic run on toilet paper and tissues).   I am not simplifying this, we must eat well from nature’s garden freely given to us, supplement well and exercise…  I am even exploring the effects of  CBD in relieving anxiety, clearing the lungs and its support of the immune system.  All good.

It’s not just about having enough flour to make cakes, our food and our breath supports us.  Someone with a depressed immune system and shallow breathing is often carrying depression and anxiety that no amount of visits to Coles will cure.  I am sure you have found it is much easier to say to someone, “just breathe”, rather than to say “be happy”.  Although they may have looked at you strangely – it is the answer.  For with each deep powerful breath we embrace, we charge up our energy, fill our cells with new oxygen, take in another lungful of life, and perhaps eventually, the longed-for happiness comes naturally.

It is our lungs where we hold accumulated sadness and emotional congestion.  We all know that without the breath we have no life, no heartbeat, no voice, no personal truth or the ability to voice it or sing it.  Without our song lines we are alone….Singing is not just about noise and movement.  It is about taking deep breaths, expanding our rib cage, opening the tissues of our organs, spreading apart each and every cell, washing out the sadness, grief and suffering. So, in this time of crisis, we need not only breathe, but sing.

We may not think about it, but we live in age of connectedness.  The reality of that exchange includes the negatives with the positives.  With this connectedness comes sharing, and we are sharing this virus.  It is a living thing as we are living things.  We can hate it, but that won’t help.  We have a lesson to learn.  Taking out our fear on our Chinese neighbours is not the way or the lesson.

As the Yoga teacher Anna Forrest said” Mending the Hoop of the People is our collective intention”.     How do we take on  this challenge, this  task?  By maintaining a deep connection to our breath,   by supporting our neighbours as ourselves, and helping  them to  discover the ultimate source of our well-being.

In Australia, this challenge is coming to us at the beginning of winter.  The seasons are with us.  Let us clean and freshen the body, prepare for the months ahead with the fruits of the earth nature has freely given us, take big cleansing breaths –  and sing our way to health and happiness.


Namaste.  Jahne

Jahne Hope-Williams

The Australasian Yoga Institute.