Angry Addict

I’m hoping that by sharing this here…I don’t fucking kill some newcomer at a meeting.  I just moved back to my hometown….again.  I am starting over with doctors, therapists, etc.  I have to START OVER every time I move.  For the past 10 years I have suffered from chronic pain in my neck and my back due to a freak incident while visiting a friend at a correctional facility.  I was attacked, not only once, but twice by an inmate who assumed I had purposely “pushed” his girlfriend (which I did not).  For the last 4-5 years the major cause of pain has been from 3 bulging discs in my neck that irritate a nerve that runs from my neck and down my right arm.  It hurts every minute of every day.

I am home again because I moved to Syracuse, NY to attend college at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and because of the pain (being “treated” mind you) I could not keep up in my classes.  I attempted to hold out because this was my dream.  I was only making things worse by ending each semester with horrible grades and unfinished assignments due to time off and/or my inability to write, take notes,  read for long periods of time, and sit at a desk for hours on end…let alone getting there on a bus, lugging around all my books, trying to sit through lectures, and getting home on the bus.

I get to a place many many times where I feel helpless, hopeless and like life will never be worth living for me again (this is while being “treated”).  I am a resilient person and have been able to bounce back each time only to find myself in this place again where I feel dark, alone, and like giving up (my life).

I am 30 years old, on disability, and trying to survive for the last 10 years on $780 a month.  I am ALWAYS only JUST making ends meet.  So on top of the physical pain there is the stress of everyday expenses, not having money to just relax and have fun, and I am always pinching pennies.  When I don’t act frugally I suffer greatly from backed-up bills, lack of rent, etc.

I am also a recovering addict.

I had a few relapses over the last year after over 4 years clean.  I used from the time I was 15ish starting with marijuana and alcohol and I progressed and “graduated” to other drugs from there.  I am one of those addicts who TRULY believes I was born with this disease.  Since the day I was born I struggled and suffered emotionally and spiritually, feeling like I was alone, there was no one like me, I was going to live and die this way and no one cared or could see.  I also grew up in a situation where there was addiction and mental health constantly causing more than just minor problems in my life which only lead to more feelings of abandonment, betrayal and despair.

I felt EVERY emotion as raw as it could be felt, I took everything personally and I turned it ALL inward just hoping someday someone would magically become aware of the fucking hell I was existing in and take me away or fix me.  But then, I found drugs.  This did the trick for awhile and I even had “friends”.  This is not about the drugs though today so we will skip all of this.

I found recovery, was doing work on myself inwardly and learning to trust people, recognizing I was NOT alone and it was NOT the end of the world.  I was also dealing with chronic pain.  The fucked up shit I’m feeling today is that while everyone is telling me More Will Be Revealed, and Give it To God, and talking about the journey inwards (and wanting with all my heart to believe this)…I was held back by my constant struggle to find a solution for the daily suffering I was experiencing due to chronic pain.  To me, there was no hope, there were no solutions…sure I could be all peachy on the inside, get right with God, learn to make good decisions…and I even believe there is a Higher Power that can help fill the void I feel without the drugs in my life that I still to this day try and fill with a man to make me feel good, or busy-work, or drama.  I honestly DO believe that.

It ALWAYS comes back to this though.  I can pray my little fucking ass off, work towards solutions for the pain, see doctors, follow the right routes, be doing stepwork, staying away from vices, help newcomers, do service work, feel hope in OTHER areas of my life even sometimes feel some preliminary hope in this area, practice patience…but I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A HIGHER POWER WHO, BECAUSE I ALL OF A SUDDEN DECIDE TO LIVE RIGHT AND WITH ALL THE OTHER SUFFERING IN THE WORLD, WILL TAKE AWAY THE PHYSICAL PAIN THAT HAS STOLEN MY LIFE, MY HOPE, MY HAPPINESS, AND ANY CHANCE I EVER HAVE OF MOVING ON WITH MY LIFE NO MATTER WHAT ELSE I WORK ON OR HOW RIGHT WITH GOD AND THE WORLD I AM.

I get it, ok??  I am powerless.  People telling me  these things that they CANNOT identify with DOES NOT HELP!  Hello!!!!  Remember being in rehab and how it felt to have a non-addict therapist TRY and empathize with you??  It tells us in our own literature that the most powerful weapon we have…for addiction…is another recovering addict!!

So…what is a girl to do?????  Is there virtue in the fact that I suffer and have (sarcastic cutesy smiley faces, rainbows, and puppies attached) “FAITH” that everything will be ok.  Faith with the knowledge of no solution from that faith according to my own evidence and the LACK of evidence I see in other people in this area…is a lie.  Does it make me a better person to “accept” my lot in life when secretly I would rather die than to accept that the best possible life I could hope for for myself and now my unborn child is a spirited woman with so many dreams settling for $780 a month and no prospect of ever completing college or working in a meaningful job??

So uh…YEAH I want to use drugs, or men, or anything to make me feel good.  YEAH I am angry, resentful, and self-seeking…STILL.  YEAH I get how it is SO easy to place denial as a protection in front of those things that make “it all go away”, if even only for a moment (cause sometimes it TRULY is better than it not going away at all).  Yeah I get how I will justify the FUCK out of the things I do.  YEAH at this point in my life…AGAIN… I do not want to live or die.

And then, check this out, I also have a conscience that makes doing these things once I am aware of them impossible or painful if I cannot stop.  I also have a stubborn and very WILLFUL desire to, no matter what, live the BEST possible life I can live by doing what is right, not hurting other people or myself and following God’s will!!!!!

WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?????????????  WHAT IS THAT JOKE ALL ABOUT???  WHAT A HORRIBLE FUCKING DISEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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NO MORE PYRAMID!!!

Most of the information gathered for this article came from ChooseMyPlate.gov

Some of the 2010 changes include:

Balancing Calories
  • Enjoy your food but eat less
  • Avoid oversized proportions
Foods To Increase
  • Make half your plates fruits and vegetables
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
Foods To Reduce
  • Compare sodium levels in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Food Groups

Grains

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.

Whole Grains –

Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Refined Grains –

Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.  Most refined grains are enriched. This means certain B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron are added back after processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. Check the ingredient list on refined grain products to make sure that the word “enriched” is included in the grain name. Some food products are made from mixtures of whole grains and refined grains.

SECRET!!!:

Don’t be fooled by the”wheat” breads that do not say 100% whole grains somewhere on the package.  Caramel coloring is added to the bread to give it the wheat coloring.  They are technically allowed to call it “wheat bread” because…even white bread is wheat.

Vegetables

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Dark Green Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables provide many essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium.  In addition, they are also a wonderful way to get the fiber your body needs. The darker the leaves, the more nutrients the vegetable usually has.

bok choy
broccoli
collard greens
dark green leafy lettuce
kale
mesclun
mustard greens
romaine lettuce
spinach
turnip greens
watercress

Starchy Vegetables

Starchy vegetables are healthy, but they are higher in carbohydrate than other vegetables and they have more calories.

cassava
corn
fresh cowpeas, field peas, or black-eyed peas (not dry)
green bananas
green peas
green lima beans
plantains
potatoes
taro
water chestnuts

Red and Orange Vegetables

Red– Contains nutrients like lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin.  These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, scavenge harmful free-radicals, and support join tissue in arthritis cases.

Orange (and Yellow)– Contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macula degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.

acorn squash
butternut squash
carrots
hubbard squash
pumpkin
red peppers
sweet potatoes
tomatoes
tomato juice

Beans and Peas

Legumes which are high in protein value, although their proteins are not regarded as having sufficient amounts of the amino acids required by the human body, and should, therefore, not be used as the sole source of protein foods. They are of high caloric value and they make some contributions to the mineral and vitamin content of the dietary. Peas are relatively high in vitamin A content, which is associated with many physiological functions, notably growth and dark adaptation. Both beans and peas, particularly soy beans, are good sources of vitamin B1, which is the anti-neuritic vitamin enjoying such wide attention at the present time.

black beans
black-eyed peas (mature, dry)
garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
kidney beans
lentils
navy beans
pinto beans
soy beans
split peas
white beans

Other Vegetables

Here is a link for the nutritional value of specific vegetables.

Fruits

Here is a link for the nutritonal value of specific fruits.

Dairy

All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Most Dairy Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group.

*Selection Tips

Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you choose milk or yogurt that is not fat-free, or cheese that is not low-fat, the fat in the product counts against your maximum limit for “empty calories” (calories from solid fats and added sugars).
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If sweetened milk products are chosen (flavored milk, yogurt, drinkable yogurt, desserts), the added sugars also count against your maximum limit for “empty calories” (calories from solid fats and added sugars).
divider
For those who are lactose intolerant, smaller portions (such as 4 fluid ounces of milk) may be well tolerated. Lactose-free and lower-lactose products are available. These include lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk, yogurt, and cheese, and calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage). Also, enzyme preparations can be added to milk to lower the lactose content. Calcium-fortified foods and beverages such as cereals, orange juice, rice milk, or almond milk may provide calcium, but may not provide the other nutrients found in dairy products.

Protein Foods

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group.  Select a variety of protein foods to improve nutrient intake and health benefits, including at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. Young children need less, depending on their age and calories needs. The advice to consume seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans and peas, processed soy products, and nuts and seeds. Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat.

*Selection Tips

Choose lean or low-fat meat and poultry. If higher fat choices are made, such as regular ground beef (75 to 80% lean) or chicken with skin, the fat counts against your maximum limit for empty calories (calories from solid fats or added sugars). divider
If solid fat is added in cooking, such as frying chicken in shortening or frying eggs in butter or stick margarine, this also counts against your maximum limit for empty calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars). divider
Select some seafood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, herring, Pacific oysters, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel.divider
Processed meats such as ham, sausage, frankfurters, and luncheon or deli meats have added sodium. Check the Nutrition Facts label to help limit sodium intake. Fresh chicken, turkey, and pork that have been enhanced with a salt-containing solution also have added sodium. Check the product label for statements such as “self-basting” or “contains up to __% of __”, which mean that a sodium-containing solution has been added to the product. divider
Choose unsalted nuts and seeds to keep sodium intake low.

 

We Do Recover: Part 1

The following is inspired by the book Miracles Happen: The Birth of Narcotics Anonymous in Words and Pictures released by Narcotics Anonymous World Services.  Some of the content has been researched and added by the author.

Jimmy K

Incorporated in Chatsworth, California.  The photos in the book will be hard to reproduce but I will try my best to convey the overall feel of the literature as best I can.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Jimmy K.  “His tireless efforts in the early years of our formulation and growth laid the foundation for our movement (p. 7).”

Old pill bottles

Introduction

There seems to be this alternative: either go on as best we can to the bitter ends – jails, institutions or death – or find a new way to live.  In years gone by, very few addicts ever had this last choice.Little White Book

In 2007, there were over 25,065 groups holding over 43,900 weekly meetings in 127 countries.  The improbability of such a movement makes the existence of this God-given program an absolute miracle in the lives of suffering addicts.  There was a time in history when there were none to very few options for addicts who wanted to get clean.  Addiction itself, was a crime.  There was a time when it was illegal for addicts to meet together.  The “truth” about an addict was this: “Once an addict always an addict”.

Drug Use Before and In the Twentieth Century

Drug use has been around probably as long as humans have been around.  It has been used for medicinal purposes, for religious rites and practices, and for recreational purposes.

Wine was used at least from the time of the early Egyptians; narcotics from 4000 B.C.; and medicinal use of marijuana has been dated to 2737 B.C. in China. But not until the 19th cent. A.D. were the active substances in drugs extracted (FactMonster.com).

Ancient paraphernalia (Drug Kit)

Andean mummy hair has provided the first direct archaeological evidence of the consumption of hallucinogens in pre-Hispanic Andean populations, according to recent gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis.  Indirect evidence for psychoactive drug use in South America’s ancient populations abound, ranging from the discovery of drug equipment to the identification of hallucinogenic herb residuals in snuffing kits.

In Europe, Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus invented laudanum (opium dissolved into liquid form) in 1541.  It became a widespread curative potion.

Hmmmmmm.......

The use of opium became epidemic in 19th century Europe and in America.  It was commonly used in children’s medicine with cute labels such as “Godfrey’s Cordial”, “Munn’s Elixir”, and get this….”Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup” (p. 10).

In 1803, a German pharmacist by the name of F. W. Serturner successfully isolated the active ingredient in opium: Morphine.  Morpheus is the Greek God of sleep and dreams.  This is Morphine’s namesake.  The hypodermic was not invented for about another 40 years (p. 10).  The drug was effective and thought to be harmless.  It’s peak use was during the Civil War in which it is estimated that 400,000 morphine addicts were created in the army alone.

Old ad for morphine: apparently accepted for use as a teething aid

We now had patent medicines such as “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup”, “Darby’s Carminative”, and “Ayer’s Cheery Pectorial” (p. 10).  They were particularly popular with older white women from middle and upper classes.  In 1900 there were an estimated 300,000 opiate-dependent people in the U.S.  At this point the affliction was looked upon with sympathy.  When immigrant’s began to have the same addiction issues these views rapidly changed.  Urban tenements and slums developed, poverty increased and so the poor more often turned to alcohol and narcotics.  Lower-class addicts brought the views on addiction to a new light and addiction was driven into criminality, dereliction, and hopeless despair (p. 10-11).

Criminalization of Addiction

Perhaps the earliest recorded example is the prohibition of the use of alcohol under Islamic law (Sharia), which is usually attributed to passages in the Qur’an dating from the 7th century.

Religious intolerance was a motivation for drug prohibition in Christian Europe. In a move interpreted as support for the efforts of the Spanish Inquisition against the Arabs, in a 1484 fiat Pope Innocent VIII banned the use of cannabis. The persecution of heretics in the form of witch hunts also gathered momentum around this time, and frequently targeted users of medicinal and hallucinogenic herbs. The Inquisition proceeded apace in Meso-America and South America, where peyote (péyotl), ololiúqui, toloáche, teonanácatl and other sacred plants of the Mexican culture were prohibited as works of the devil.

The first law outright prohibiting the use of a specific drug in the United States was a San Francisco ordinance which banned the smoking of opium in opium dens in 1875.  Even though the law prohibited the trafficking of opium, laudanum and other tinctures were allowed to persist in medicinal form.  The distinction between its use by white Americans and Chinese immigrants was thus based on the form in which it was ingested: Chinese immigrants tended to smoke it, while it was often included in various kinds of generally liquid medicines often (but not exclusively) used by people of European descent. The laws targeted opium smoking, but not other methods of ingestion.  This was followed by the Harrison Act, passed in 1914, which required sellers of opiates and cocaine to get a license. While originally intended to require paper trails of drug transactions between doctors, drug stores, and patients, it soon became a prohibitive law.  In 1919, the Supreme Court ruled in Doremus that the Harrison Act was constitutional and in Webb that physicians could not prescribe narcotics solely for maintenance.

Then, of course, we had the Prohibition on alcohol.  Most of us know this story so here is a link if you would like to learn more: Prohibition of Alcohol.

In 1936 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) noticed an increase of reports of people smoking marijuana, which further increased in 1937. The Bureau drafted a legislative plan for Congress, seeking a new law and the head of the FBN, Harry J. Anslinger, ran a smear campaign against marijuana.  During this particular time frame, the media was swarmed with propaganda regarding the effects of marijuana.

Marijuana Propaganda

Marijuana Propaganda

Marijuana Propaganda

In 1972, United States President Richard Nixon announced the commencement of the so-called “War on Drugs.” Later, President Reagan added the position of drug czar to the President’s Executive Office.

In 1973, New York State introduced mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years to life imprisonment for possession of more than four ounces (113g) of a so-called hard drug, called the Rockefeller drug laws after New York Governor and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Similar laws were introduced across the United States.

California’s broader ‘three strikes and you’re out‘ policy adopted in 1994 was the first mandatory sentencing policy to gain widespread publicity and was subsequently adopted in most United States jurisdictions. This policy mandates life imprisonment for a third criminal conviction of any felony offense.

After the Harrison Act courts refused to define addiction as a disease.  Addicts were driven underground and were subjected to street violence, diseases, arrests, convictions, and incarcerations.  Dispensing clinics were opened.  in 1919 thirteen municipalities had 44 opiate dispensing clinics aimed at detox or opium maintenance.  The government perceived these as a threat and had them all closed by 1924 (p. 12).  There was another increase in crime.  In 1929 Congress adopted The Porter Act.  Treatment facilities were established finally for addicts.  One was in Lexington, Kentucky and the other was in Fort Worth, Texas.  These were operational in the 30’s.

Lexington, Kentucky

Fort Worth

In the early years they primarily served as prison hospitals for convicted addicts.  Those who entered voluntarily were detoxified.  Treatment included “sweating it out” with hard work on the farm in Kentucky.

We now have employee assistance programs, hospital and residential-based treatment, and 12 step fellowships.  In the 30s and 40s doctors were threatened into not only stopping treatment of addicts but also into reporting them to authorities (p. 13).

William Burroughs' Junkie allows a peak into the limited treatment options available to addicts

At one point it was illegal for any two addicts to be seen together.  Addicts went even further underground where drugs were bought on the black market and the street or to complain of the “right symptoms” to doctors in order to satisfy their needs.

After WW2 addicts were put into two general categories: those addicted to pills, sedatives, barbiturates, laudanum, Demerol, etc.; and “dope fiends”.  The second category more often needed to obtain their drugs through illicit means (p. 16).

Searches, harassment, and incarceration were normal parts of everyday life.  Addicts and doctors who attempted to help them were seen as criminals.  These are the truths of an addict from this time.  We may not fully understand the words spoken by Jimmy K, that very few addicts DID have a choice like we have found today in Narcotics Anonymous.

Taking Your Kid to McDonald’s Is Actually A Punishment – Fast Food Advertising is On the Rise: TreeHugger

McDonald's Restaurant with prominent kids' pla...

Image via Wikipedia

Fast Food Advertising is On the Rise — With a Focus on Minority Youth — While Kids Continue to Grow Fatter. What’s Wrong With This Picture? : TreeHugger.

Full article at the above link.

I was watching the Super Bowl last night (I was actually studying but at the bar with my friend).  Anyways, a commercial came on for McDonald’s and there was a bear daddy and a bear kid.  The bear kid got all A’s on their report card!!!!!  His reward?  A fattening, unhealthy, calories-that-make-your-mouth-drop, greasy disgusting meal from McDonald’s.  It is food made without love and purely to have the cheapest ingredients necessary in order to make a profit.

How are parents so unaware of the lessons that we are teaching our kids?  I wish someone would have taken the time to make sure I learned good nutrition while I was young.  My dad did pretty good for being a single dad but there were definitely many nights where we would just grab something to eat.  We ate a lot of spaghetti until he expanded his menu to include sausage with peppers and onions (greasy) and sometimes pot roast, and once in awhile in the beginning – chicken cooked in the microwave…YES CHICKEN COOKED IN THE MICROWAVE!!  IIIIICCCCKKKKKK!!!!!

It also happened at school where we were offered choices between this greasy distungness or that greasy disgustingness.  You would think that at school your kids are getting nutritious meals.  This is not the case.  At my high school you could get all the greasy crap and extras at a snack bar in the cafeteria.  You could totally bypass whatever was being served that day and get fries and 2 half-moon cookies with chocolate milk and soda!!

All’s I am saying is…for the love of God…take the time to love your child enough to start them out with healthy eating habits.  I have been obese since puberty and suffered ridicule for this my whole life until recently.

Parents nowadays don’t want to take the time to finish and win an argument.  They think their children have some sort of democratic say in their own lives.  Basically, you are reasoning with someone who has no life experience and they give in because it is easier than the fight to change it.  Pssst lazy parenting, I think.

Petition Site That Cares: Care2 – largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare.

Care2 – largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare..

Randy Paynter, CEO and President of C2, started this site in 1998.

The idea is simple: Make it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most.

When he was 13 he was traveling with his father up the Amazon in a thatch-covered boat.  His father was an ornithologist (study of birds).

“What struck me most was the contrast between the remote tribes living in harmony with the rainforest, and the poverty and deforestation in the most “modernized” towns we visited”, said Paynter on the About Us page of the site.  He saw that the world was terribly out of balance and began to believe that we each have the power to make positive changes in our world.

“The answer came in 1998.  The Internet.  Finally, the power to mobilize the world was at hand.  I raised money from some kind and crazy souls, and then really lucked out in finding two extraordinary partners — Matt McGlynn (now our chief technology officer) and Camilla Eriksson (now our vice president of eCards.  In September 1998, we launched Care2 from my tiny apartment” Paynter writes.

The website is driven by those who wish to make changes in this world.  They are a certified B Corporation.

The Butterflies

 

 

 

 

The butterflies on the logo are designed after a Physics concept called “The Butterfly Effect“.  It symbolizes to them that one person can take a small step and make a difference.

You can earn butterfly credits by taking various actions like signing a petition and taking the daily action.  These credits can be redeemed for gifts that make the world a better place.

There is an online community and plenty of fun topics and polls.  you can create groups or join existing ones.

Taking Action

There are so many petitions you can sign on a wide array of topics and issues that you may support.  There is a daily action that you can do and earn credits for.

There is also a whole section on Healthy and Green Living.

I have been signed up for emails through this site for some time now.  Some of my other blogs are based on these emails about petitions available tailored to the issues I am concerned with at the moment.  I have always had a good experience with this Organization.  Enjoy, and help by taking your own little steps…we can make a difference!

Book Review: Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff – Chapter 1 Dynamics of Breath

I have suffered from chronic pain for a long time.  As I understand it, a lot of it has to do with muscle spasms.  I try t stretch but seem to not get the muscle the right way.  I have been to physical therapy numerous times and many used many other techniques like medication, Trigger Point Injections, nerve block shots, etc.

I really feel like this is something that can be healed.  I have to believe that.  This is my attempt at finding a solution.

Chapter 1: Dynamics of Breath

Prana:

The author begins by discussing how a cell functions.  Without going into all the detail, the point is that wastes are generated after a cell metabolizes nutrients.  If these wastes are not able to escape the cell it dies.  All living things take in nutrients.

Prana refers to what nourishes a living thing.  It refers to nourishment brought in AND the action it brings in.

Apana:

This is the complementary force to Prana.  This refers t what is eliminated by a living thing and the action of elimination.

Sthira and Suhka:

Successful function is essential in this when related to a cell or any living thing.  There needs to be a correct balance.  A cell must be permeable and so should we.  Not too permeable but just enough.

“All succesful living things must balance containment and permeability, rigidity and plasticity, persistence and adaptability, space and boundaries” (pg 2).

Prana and Apana:

We eliminate waste in several ways: liquid, solid, gas.  The Apana needs to be able to move up and down.  Liquid and solid waste go down and breathe goes up.  “…any inability to reverse apana’s downward push will result in an incomplete exhalation” (pg 2).

Sukha and Dukha:

Sukha = good space

Dukha = bad space

Pathways need to be cleared of obstructing forces.  This refers to blockages.  Yoga therapy is 90% waste removal.

Your First Breathe:

After being severed from the umbilical cord, your life-force for 9 months, you declare “your physical and physiological independence” by taking your first breathe.

The first inhalation begins essential changes to the circulatory system.  Blood surges into the lungs, the right and left sides of the heart separate into two pumps, and specialized vessels of fetal circulation will shut down and seal off.

Gravity:

Inside the womb we are weightless.  At birth you need to start DOING things like sucking, swallowing, and breathing to obtain nutrition.  This creates your “first postural skill – supporting the weight of the head” (pg 4).

Eventually we learn to walk and the completion of your lumbar curve takes place around the age of 10.

“To summarize, the moment you’re born, you’re confronted by two forces that were not present in utero: breath and gravity.  To thrive, you need to reconcile those forces for as long as you draw breath on this planet” (pg 4).

Breath = Prana/Apana

Posture = Sthira/Sukha

Breathing

Breathing involves movement in two cavities: thoracic and abdominal.

Thoracic and Abdominal Cavities

They have shared properties and distinctions.

BOTH:

Both cavities contain vital organs.  Thoracic contains the heart and lungs and the abdominal contains the stomach, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, small and large intestines, kidneys, bladder, etc.  They are both bounded posteriorly by the spine.  They are both open to an end to the external environment.  They share an important structure: the diaphragm.  They are both mobile or change shape.

DIFFERENCES:

The abdominal cavity changes shape fluidly.  It is like squeezing a balloon of water, it bulges at one end.  It is dependent on the measurement of volume.  When this cavity is compressed by breathing it bulges at the other end.  It is harder to breathe after a big meal because this decreases mobility of the thoracic cavity.

The thoracic cavity changes in shape and volume.

Volume and Pressure:

These are inversely related.  Air flows towards areas of low pressure.  Increasing the volume of the thoracic cavity will decrease pressure and cause air to flow in.  This is inhalation

Air is pushed into the body by atmospheric pressure, we do not PULL in a breathe.  It is like an accordion stacked onto a water balloon (how is that for simplicity).

During relaxed breathing (for example while sleeping), exhalation is a passive process by which the chest cavity and lung tissue bounce back after a stretch.  Active exhaling uses the musculature surrounding the two cavities to contract so that the abdominal cavity is pushed upwards or the thoracic cavity pushed downward.

The Diaphragm:

This divides the torso into the two cavities. It has a deeply domed shape.  This is completely dependent on the structures it is attached to and the organs it supports.  It is attached slightly to bone in a few spots but 90% originates on flexible tissue.  The muscular fibers are oriented primarily along the vertical.

“The muscular action of the diaphragm is most often associated with a bulging movement in the upper abdomen” (pg 9).  This is what we call “belly-breathing”.

NOTE: I remember reading an anecdote once about how there was someone who did breathing during their seminar and they found that woman, more than men, don’t do the belly-breathing right from years and years of “sucking it in”.

“If the central tendon is stabilized and the ribs are free to move, a diaphragmatic contraction will cause an expansion of the rib cage” (pg. 9).  This is “chest-breathing”.  The issue is not whether you are using the diaphragm or not, but whether you are using it efficiently.

In yoga asana practice or breathing exercises accessory muscles are used.  You don’t steer your breath with the diaphragm.  The idea of “diaphragmatic training” ia thus flawed.  Breath training is really “accessory muscle training”.  Also, saying that chest breathing indicates a flaw in your breathing is ridiculous.

Accessory Muscles in Respiration:

In a belly breath, the origin of the diaphragm is stabilized by the muscles pulling the rib cage downward.  These are classified as “exhaling muscles” but still participate in inhalation shape: internal costals, transversus thoracis, etc.  The central tendon is stabilized by the abdominal muscles (also called “exhaling muscles).  Here though, they are acting in a pattern used for inhaling.  In both of these, one region needs to be relaxed for the other to work.

Abdominal and Thoracic Accessory Muscles:

The shortening and lengthening of elastic fibers that run in all directions, produce the infinitely variable shape changes in respiration.  You need to relax the tone of some abdominal muscles for the diaphragm to move.  they also directly affect the rib cage’s ability to expand.  The transversus abdominis have the most direct effect on breathing.  Its fibers are interwoven at right angles with those of the diaphragm.

Other layers have similar counterparts in the thoracic cavity.  Only the external costals are capable of expanding thoracic volume.

Other Accessory Muscles:

Chest, back, and neck muscles can also expand the rib cage.The location and attachment of these muscles however, make them far more inefficient.  Improved breathing is a result of a decrease in tension in the accessory mechanism.

Other Diaphragms:

Pelvic diaphragm:

mula bandha is the action of lifting in the pelvic floor muscles  Mula bandha moves apana upwards.  To inhale while it is active requires a release of the attachments of the upper abdominal wall.  The diaphragm can then lift the base of the rib cage up.  this is called uddiyana bandha.

Vocal Diaphragm:

The glottis is a space between the vocal folds or cords.  At rest, the muscles can be relaxed so that the glottis is not restricted or enlarged.Exercises involving deep and rapid breaths the muscles of the vocal folds pull apart to create a larger passage, like in kapalabhati or bhastrika.  When long, deep, slow breaths are taken, the glottis can be partially closed.  This is how you create whispered speech and in yoga is called ujjayi.

During chanting in yoga, the cords are pulled together.  The air pushing through vibrates them.

The Bandhas

All three diaphragms and ujjayi come together and are coordinated with inhaling and exhaling.  The “valve” of the ujjayi creates a back pressure throughout the abdominal and thoracic cavities that aids in protecting the spine  These bandhas create more stability in the body and protecting it from injury.

Brahmana is an additional effect of moving the body through resistance which creates heat in the system that can be used beneficially.  It is als associated with inhaling, nourishment, prana, and the chest region.

Langhana is the relaxing side of yoga associated with cooling, condensation, relaxation and release, development of sensitivity and inward focus, exhaling, elimination, apana, and the abdominal region.

The best advice given in this section is that there is no single way to breathe.

Facebook | To Write Love On Her Arms Day: Event

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

To Write Love On Her Arms Day is a day where anyone can write the words love on their arms, to support those who are fighting against depression and those who are trying to recovering. On this day, just write love on your arms, and show it off, other people will ask why you have love written on your arms, and you tell them you are supporting to write love on her arms day, and how its benefiting a non profit organization helping stop depression, and make love the movement ♥

on November 12-13th write love on yours arms, and upload pictures here to show your support

via Facebook | To Write Love On Her Arms Day.