This is another story about a miraculous healing that took place from breathing and singing exercises that I always practiced with my students. This one is about the breath technique of singing La La La, as given in the Breath Series under Techniques to Find Your True Inner Voice. (Can't resist placing the image of my sister on another page of this site. She was so beautiful. She died in 1987. I do love how the microphone silhouette looks like the Kundalini rising up all the way from her feet!) This happened in one of the Swedish schools where I taught. The large room was a Yoga teacher's dream with ballet bars in front of wall-to-wall mirrors on three sides of the room, and beautiful oak floors. We could all see ourselves in the mirrors. This was a beginner's group and we were into our 8th class (one term was 10 weeks). We began to do the exercises to open up the diaphragm muscle and were singing La La La, when one woman started to have spasms and began to make uncontrollable sounds. I got her down on the floor immediately, massaged her solar plexus slowly and deeply, then asked her to take in a shallow breath first. I wanted her to know that she could breathe! She was frightened. She calmed down immediately and just stayed there, breathing deeply. The entire class gathered around and sat down on the floor, giving her space, but letting her know we were all there for her. We helped her to relax, and she seemed more relaxed than we had ever seen her. This was a woman who was so stiff in her neck and shoulders that she couldn't turn her head to either side. Even her voice had a very high pitch from the strain. She had a voice that hurt the ears, very high and nasal. We all waited to see what she was going to do next. Suddenly, she said in a deep, resonant, beautiful voice, “I feel like I just lost every ounce of tension in my head and neck and shoulders.” And she was as shocked by her own voice as we were! She raised herself slowly from the floor and stood, looking at herself in the mirrors. She turned her head to the right and looked at herself from that angle, then turned to the left and looked again. We all just stood there, motionless, quiet, stunned. Then we all stood up and looked at ourselves in the mirror. We placed our hands on our abdomens again, and began to sing La La La La La. We were all smiling and singing together and our voices got louder and louder and more powerful. Everyone felt the difference in the solar plexus that day. We all laughed together from the joy of what she was able to experience from one moment to another. Her life changed forever. Then I chose an exercise that she had never been able to do. She followed along without a problem. That was it. We knew she had been healed instantly of something. That was a dressing room filled with a lot of women blabbering excitedly that day! She had no clue what caused the stiffness in her neck and shoulders, or her high-pitched voice. She had struggled with it her entire life, but nothing had ever helped. It occurred to me that it might have been the result of a fearful event in her childhood, because her immediate response was intense fear. When I approached her with this idea, she admitted that fear came just before she lost control, and then disappeared when I massaged the area around her solar plexus. This is another great example of how the body can heal itself by simply releasing emotional energy that is stuck somewhere within. Years later when I decided to study voice again, the same thing happened to me. The teacher had me singing over and over and I was working hard with my diaphragm muscle. All of a sudden, as I went to reach for a very high note, the fluttering of spasms started. I was unable to control the sounds, so I began to massage my own solar plexus the way I had done for my student. Wouldn't you know it. I became very calm and my voice improved instantly. I was able to sing in another octave without reaching for it. If you are a singer, or speaker, you want to work the diaphragm muscle to be as strong as possible, and relaxed. But you also want to know what to do if you lose control and have a hard time inhaling. I hope this story will help you if you ever run into this problem! If you haven't been to my online breathing course (no excuse, it's free), you can leave this last page of My Yoga Story and proceed to the Breath Class, where you can learn everything you need to know about breathing properly. And if you call yourself a Yoga teacher, you should already know about these breath techniques and be teaching them to your students. I wish you many little miracles in your journey with students. Don't follow the book all the time. Follow your intuition—the first thought that comes to you when you run into a problem. It will invariably be the right thing to do!
These are some of the highlights of My Yoga Story. If you have a similar story about the healing powers of Yoga, and would like to share it on this site, please email it to me with your by-line. I'll let you know if I use it, and thanks!