Today’s guest post comes from the brilliant Aishwarya, who tells us of a powerful lesson he learnt during his intellectually formative years in Delhi and how ill health almost ruined his progress. With an inspiring message at its core, let him empower you with his tale of excitement, disappointment, fear, struggle and, ultimately, progress.
It was the year 2009. The excitement of being in India’s capital and joining one of Delhi’s premier institutions was palpable – new college, new friends, new lifestyle , entering adulthood- oh the glitter. It was near picture-perfect for me. But as they say, nothing stays forever.
What came unforseen was the gift I received from the monstrous city air- it earnestly choked my lungs at the age of 18. Asthma at 18? The harried faces I would encounter every time I would take that “inhaler”. Relatives, with all their concern came up with remedies. Then there were doubting eyes – whether this guy smoked around or is it some bad company he got into?
For me, it was terrible. Especially the winters, the season I had loved the most before! Sometimes it would get worse, so emergency visits to the clinic for “nebulization” became routine. The scary-looking gas-pumping in the mouth was what I detested. I felt it crushed my freedom, my freedom to breathe and live happy, free of worries. The doctors would say, “Oh this is really common, just keep using the inhalation regularly, you will be fine”.
Just that it wasn’t fine. It wasn’t fine for the next 7 years. Being a non-communicable disease, asthma is often-understood to be a life-long condition which required perennial medication. I believed it too. Of course my family and friends were great support. But my self-esteem took a beating when friends would take “precautions” around me, to not let my breathing get affected. It was concern, but ironically unwanted by me.
Then came August 2015. It wasn’t even the season for my peak to show up. Yet I fainted in office on a regular day. To ensure things, an array of tests were done- ECG, MRI what not, felt like a doctor myself with the innumerable hospital visits. In the end, it was “thankfully” detected that it was just the asthma condition aggravation. But this incident was it. Just was “it” for me to not give in ever again.
I had heard about the “Art of Living” program from folks before- how it helps people from breathing issues, stress issues and lifestyle management. It was time for me to live the experience and see for myself how it works. I joined the “Happiness Program” immediately.
What struck me most about the course I completed with Art of Living was its simplicity. Solely on the three pillars of “Meditation” , “Positivity” and “Deep Breathing”, it was powerful enough to pull me out of my inertia to fight. “Sudarshan Kriya” ,which is a short-duration exercise I perform everyday has been key in the healing process. It has been 4 months now, in the peak of Delhi winters, and not once have I used the “inhaler”. Not once have I needed to move away from gatherings to grasp some air. The pollution around me is still the same, but not my condition.
No, it is no magic. Neither am I exaggerating. It is just invoking the positive energies and powers buried inside our bodies to prevail over everything else. And breathing techniques help us achieve that. When Einstein quoted “Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it can only change forms”, he also gave a philosophical understanding to the scientific law – we cannot destroy negativity, misery and pessimism, but we can change them to positive energies and optimism and to healing vibes !
It is fantastic to follow this in principle. I see the change, more so people around me see the change. Every morning now brings happiness in abundance, and it is an endeavor to spread this happiness among any and everyone I meet.
(Photo – Aishwarya, Delhi, 2015)
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