Joyful breath should really be called something more like Purging Breath or Cathardic Breath or at least have a disclaimer as part of it’s name, like Joyful Torture Breath or something. If you’re dealing with any excess stress, anxiety, sad loss, or other heart-heavy life experiences, pumping your breath like that feels less like laughing (which would of course be joyful) and more like sobbing (which is very much not).
I’ve encountered it twice at this point: once in teacher training and once in class. The first time I ended up ducking out of class and crying like an abandoned two-year-old in the back room. You know the cry, the ugly slobbery snotty one that’s best taken care of in the shower where you can rinse it away instead of in a hidden corner with half a box of tissues that only end up leaving your nose raw and your eyelashes full of tiny bits of white paper. Thank God I had one of my nearest and dearest at hand with a shoulder for me! It was quite a shock, let me tell you. Originally I was expecting to have to keep from laughing hysterically.
The second time, I was ready, though. As soon as I recognized my beautiful teacher friends were getting everyone into position, I immediately smiled and set my mind on happy, sunny, cheerful thoughts. Within three breaths I could feel the first pangs of what promised to be yet another mucus laden experience, so I stopped and just took it as an excellent sign that it was time for a water/twitter break.
This breathing exercise promises to energize, uplift and cleanse you. What they don’t tell you is that it happens in exactly the reverse order. At least I hope it does eventually because after the first “cleanse” I felt rather less than uplifted and pretty well exhausted. I’m sure the second round would have been more of the same.
On the upside, I have a barometer of sorts now. I trust that, as the difficult circumstances we’re dealing with get processed and assimilated into my life, days will feel lighter again, pressing on will require less effort, and pumping air in a room full of overly excited people will feel goofy and fun. Until then I guess I’ll just be really well hydrated and more socially connected.
Photo source: Pixabay, labeled for reuse