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Breathing and Relaxing into Health—Part Two

by Michael Ketterhagen

As I mentioned in my last blog, during my time with cancer and my healing, I have learned that two skills—breathing and relaxing—bring me closer and closer to my complete healing. Each is absolutely necessary for us to become human beings, according to the yoga sages.

During last week’s blog I focused on the importance of the life force of Breath and how breathing is the Life Force that heals and sustains us.

But breathing is not enough because it must be “healthy breathing,” which automatically comes when one is relaxed. Relaxation is critical in the establishment and release of this healing power within us.

Relaxation was hard for me as I struggled with pains in my body and diarrhea, no appetite and dry heaves. My mind was quite distraught as well, thinking about whether I would ever feel like my old self again.

But then one night, a wave of relaxation flowed over me. I didn’t know its source at the time but my body felt completely filled with the flow of life, the flow of energy pulsing through my awareness and breath. I had been using a “flow of awareness relaxation” practice that my yoga teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, taught me. My whole body seemed to be released to the pranic flow of life, The Divine Source of Life, within me as I went through the practice.

I felt lifted and healed, as though my healing took a huge leap. I had learned how important relaxation was in tapping into the healing Source of the Divine within.

I also felt grateful for learning this relaxation method before I experienced such challenging times in my health. I needed to be somewhat adept at the practice before the challenge of my cancer and my chemo therapy was upon me. It was like needing to be very skillful as a motorcyclist before I travelled on the freeway where I had to deal with rain and semis and vehicles that sometime didn’t see me. In order for the relaxation practice to be successful I needed to be faithful and proficient in its practice.

Through my learning, I now know how important it is for me and others to practice relaxation daily, faithfully, especially before we may seriously need it.


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