Something in the air: Moses Lake resident finds peace through breathing

·3 min read

Mar. 30—"When we are born, the very first thing we do is breathe in. And when we die, the very last thing we do is breathe out," said Moses Lake resident Dr. Shubhada Dantale. "Our whole life revolves around breath. Breathe in, and breathe out. That is the only act we are doing 24/7, yet people are not aware of the importance of breath."

Dantale first came to America from India in 2000 to research postdoctoral organic chemistry at West Virginia University, she said. A career opportunity in San Diego, however, led her to Sudarshan Kriya (Sanskrit, meaning "proper vision by purifying action") or SKY breath meditation.

Things were going well with her new job at a chemical company in San Diego, Dantale said, until her mother died. Dantale had a hard time focusing on anything at all and had difficulty managing her emotions.

After attending a yoga and meditation class based on a flier she found, she was convinced within 25 minutes, she said.

"When I actually did the course, it was truly a transformation," she said. "I felt that in six, seven months the pain I was carrying, it just got lifted effortlessly."

When someone is angry, they take quick breaths, Dantale said. When they're sad, they take shallow ones. Awareness of breath can be a tool to manage emotions, and managing emotions can be a tool for managing the mind, she said.

"When we are happy and when we are cheerful, when something stressful happens we can handle it very easily. When we are stressful and when we are anxious, we are just not ourselves and we are not able to manage anything," she said.

Anger is always about something that happened in the past, she said, while anxiety is always about something that will happen in the future.

"The anger and the anxiety doesn't happen in the past or the future, though, it happens now," she said. "And breath is the one thing that happens in the moment."

Dantale left San Diego to work for a startup company in Chicago, and then another in Norwalk, Connecticut. Looking for a new challenge and opportunity, she came to Moses Lake in January, where she started working as a senior researcher for Moses Lake Industries Inc.

Now meditating for more than a decade, she is a certified yoga and meditation instructor through The Art of Living Foundation, a nonprofit, educational and humanitarian organization teaching these techniques in 156 countries.

According to artofliving.org, the foundation was founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Each of the organization's programs follow his philosophy: "Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace."

Dantale is a science-minded person, she said. The research behind SKY meditation is what's appealing to her.

According to Dr. Emma Seppälä, science director at the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, breathwork triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms heart rate and lowers blood pressure.

Last year, researchers at the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence conducted a study on 135 undergraduate students for eight weeks and found that SKY breath meditation led to improvements in depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positivity and social connectedness.

Because of the pandemic, everyone is looking for tools to manage stress, Dantale said. What's great about yoga and meditation is that nothing extra is needed.

Regardless of geography, everyone wants happiness, she said. And it's found within.

"The secret to your happiness is right under your nose," Dantale said. "Which is your breath."

Through the pandemic, Dantale has led virtual breath meditation courses. She just wants to spread the happiness she's experienced, she said.

For a free introductory lesson, email shubhadad@artofliving.org.

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