OP/ED: Why Can’t You Take a Breather?



Breath in. Now breathe out.


In this modern age, whimsical belief without logical reason is seen as absolutely ridiculous due to the stigma of religion in the Bay Area. Even an atheist-dominated environment like California has been secretly ridden with religious creations that survive in our everyday lives, camouflaged as star signs and breathing exercises. There are awful things in our environment we can’t change, its easy to feel stuck or lost. People have found genuine solace in spiritualism. In some airports, they even have yoga studios to accommodate the growing group of people that have realized the benefits of taking a simple breath. 

Breathing is more powerful than you think, yoga implements stretches combined with breath work was described by Ms. Borja, as “… a very sacred thing from India, designed for monks to sit in meditation for hours, ” She is the administrator for the Hope & Healing club, and the muscle behind things you might remember like Stress Less Week (this included an event where lots of cute therapy dogs come to campus.) As we were discussing this, I presented the issue of stigma around spiritual practices. She responded with  “It’s funny I literally reflected on this the other day; why are people so embarrassed to take a deep breath? I’ve led a meditation with a group of students and not one of them will follow along with me but if someone does a dare like ‘oh bet! go get that number’ they’ll do it! but it’s like too embarrassing? It’s too personal? you can do something silly but not for your wellness? Self-care is something that should be taught to students and emphasized especially with the rising amount of mental illness and drug addiction in youth. We are all struggling with our purpose in life, it’s okay. Give yourself a break, allow a moment of silence within a world of noise and turmoil.

She shared some beginner practices to relieve stress and anxiety. Lift your right hand up toward your nose. Exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your fingers. Open the right nostril and exhale through this side. Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril. Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side. Try it and you’ll feel better, don’t be embarrassed! It’s not stupid hippie shit. ”Brain Breaks” as Ms. Zamora calls it (an art teacher that uses meditation every day during class). Which uses the 3×3 Method, by Phil Boissiere, was created to solve not having enough time to practice mindfulness regularly. The 3×3 method follows three simple steps: Name a physical object, Take a deep breath, Repeat. I explained to her the increasing rigor and expectation of higher education weighing in every teenager’s head and asked: “What are some things that people should remember in order to not get overwhelmed about college?” She gave some genuine advice, mentioning that we create our own narratives, & sometimes we can’t change our circumstances, but we can control the way we react. She explained further “ Instead of saying ‘god I’m never going to be good enough to get into that college, now that may feel one hundred percent true but… is this truly true? Is the emotion behind it actually true? Now you could try wordsmithing that to “ College is competitive but I know I have something to add and it’s okay.“ Be gentle with yourself.

 Everyone gets stressed, we are all constantly having an identity crisis at every age! Am I doing it right? Am I good enough? When all these thoughts circle your mind do you take a hit or can you quietly sit with yourself? Religion can be strict and outright ridiculous at times, but you are forced to constantly reflect and become a productive member of society. Let’s disregard the stigma, that religion’s for gullible idiots, who believe you can put 8 million species on an ark. You can understand your morals, and search for your purpose of life without being a homophobic cowboy. As Ms. Borja says  “Sometimes we have one thought and it goes 10 different directions.“ Manifest what you need and don’t forget to give yourself stop signs for this hazardous journey through life. Good Luck.