Why WE NEED TO RE-LEARN HOW TO BREATHE - COVID IS KILLING BLACK, BROWN, POOR & WORKING CLASS PEOPLE
By Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou
Preliminary research has shown a spike of deaths in Black, Brown, poor and working-class communities due to the COVID-19 virus. Extremely sad, but not surprising, to Ayo Handy-Kendi, a Certified Breathologist, Laughter Yoga Teacher, and wholistic practioner with 50+ years of study and practice, who has studied and written about this issue for years. She is advocating a simple solution - use breathology techniques now to support persons infected with COVID 19 and to build immune systems for prevention.
She explains, "African Americans, and other melaninated people were already disproportionately living sicker and dying sooner than their white counter parts. High blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, strokes, certain cancers, obesity, stress, depression, addiction -- all imbalances that affect communities of color and working class people. These diseases, so-called imbalances, have their root beginning from poor breathing affecting limited oxygen up-take. Now, it's covid-19 further straining the poor health of people already diminished physically, and emotionally with Black people dying due to their under-lying conditions, exacerbated by this virus."
Her work and research is documented in her book, "Applied Breathology", in several DVD's and CD's and in her lectures and demonstrations, on and off line. She elaborates, " Racism and classism, play a big part in health imbalances.. Marginalization, poverty, fear and stress, are issues many of us face daily. The common thread, my research has found, is that we restrict the breathing due to these concerns. When we are in fear we hold our breath and restrict our oxygen. When we are stressed, we hold our breath or over-breathe. When we live in over-polluted, environments of limited oxygen, we breathe dirty, polluted air.:"
"But every time we hold our breath due to stress or pain, or just because we've developed restricted breathing habits, consciously or un-consciously, or we breathe in toxins- man-made chemical waste or environmental by-products - we are putting our health at great risks due to the challenges on our oxygen for our respiratory system's ability to function best.".
Sekou Ayo's studies have documented that 60 or more stress-related, oxygen deprivation disorders, i.e., high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease, asthma, obesity, depression, anxiety and more, can be positively impacted by efficient breathing techniques, such as deep breathing, box breath or cleansing breaths. Deep breathing is an efficient breath technique that fundamentally provides all of the benefits of optimum oxygen as "the" critical nutrition to feed, revitalize and detoxify our cells. Breath is life and with limited breath, we exhibit limited life, yet with optimum breathing, we have optimum life, health, and longevity. Her system, O.L.B., also addresses how to increase oxygen in our life and behavior in simple, cost-efficient ways.
"Yes, we need data to validate whose afflicted and dying of covid-19, but will this data change institutionalized racism or the class privileges of a few, once we find out what many already know? Most of our "essential workers" on the front line of this challenge are black, brown, poor and working class. Will research data point the way to change the disproportionate health issues for many who are on the front-line, to support our communities, now being further challenged by covid-19?."
"My goodness, don't we need to just "pause" and breathe while many, right now, are struggling to breathe; ill and hurting; holding their breath out of stress, fear, worry, concern, grief and trauma. Too many have already given up on life, and have little emotional or physical reserve to fight back a covid19 illness. Is data the priority now or is changing how we look at things, so that the things, we look at can change - really the recipe to save more from dying and prevent more from illness, now and beyond.
Now more than ever with the grief, stress, illness and deaths, we all need to breathe, build our immune system, and use breathology techniques to increase the oxygen meal, as the #1 nutrient".
"Self-care is our greatest protection. We must master the breath, to master life and "the moment" in which we find ourselves - pandemics, crises, disorganized governments, life on hold, uncertainty about the future, hazards to the natural health, environmental catastrophes and more".
"We take breathing for granted, until we can't breathe. But breath is life, and to truly live a full life, we must breathe fully, every 20,000 breaths a day. Yet, 8 of 10 people breathe inefficiently, the reason for more than 60 or more imbalances that most consider dis-eases. Now, more than ever, we need to "relearn how to breathe".
Sekou Ayo Handy-Kendi, has been teaching a system of breath training called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) since 2004, to help people "relearn how to breathe" and how to use 10 other breathing techniques and 4 practices to act as a self-care, prevention and conscious-raising tool. She has certified over 140 Breathologists in O.L.B., in 7 states, exposed her system in over 9 countries of which 4 are African, and has, "breathed" with millions on radio, t.v., in print, on stage, over the internet and in private and group practice.
Notably, she has been featured on "Steve Harvey's Morning Show" on radio and syndicated on his t.v. program. She was recently featured as one of the 40 breath experts on the Shift Network's "Breath Summit" and as a presenter on the 24 hour event for World Breathing Day (WBD), April 11, that was sponsored by the International Breathwork Foundation (IBF)
Today, through PositivEnergyWorks (P.E.W.) her company, she now offers ON-LINE breath training, classes, events wholistic tele-health services, a weekly Webcast called "BreathShops On-Line", and a new series, called One Minute Breath Breaks. She is also re-starting her popular "Sage-ing Baby Boomers Show" for those age 50+ and those who love them" to provide breathing and wholistic health programming for an aging population worldwide, particularly offering special highlights, for those seniors living in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. (D.C. being her home-town).
Sekou Ayo concludes, " At age 68, I've been in the leadership of many movements - social justice, million people marches, human rights, equal rights, buy black/empowerment, african-centered education, stop violence campaigns, gender equality and diversity/racial healing as the founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13th,created in 1993. I.ve been practicing breathing in some form, since 1970 and I.m one of a few Black folk who has studied, practiced, written about, and witnessed many testimonies, along with my own, on how breathing changed my life. Therefore, for the last 10 years, I.ve been spear-heading a BREATH MOVEMENT.
"I continue to make this statement, now validated by many doctors, health experts and practitioners who have studied the Ancient medical records and today's modern-day, evidenced-based science, to come to the same conclusion. "Breathing is the simplest technique that we can learn, to offer the greatest benefit to our Spirit, Mind and Body. It is always available, accessible 24/7 right under our noses, is FREE and critically effective. Everything that has life, has breath, and to breathe optimally, enables us to live optimally. Optimum breathing is self-care, healing, preventive and emotionally stabilizing. We should be focusing on changing the way we breathe to change our lives, now during this Covid-19 challenge and beyond".
Ayo Handy-Kendi is reknown as the Breath Sekou, which means in the Guinea language "a master teacher". She has worked with breath techniques for over 40 years and loves teaching "the power of the breath". She has created a system called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) which teaches 10 best practice breath techniques with 5 breath practices. As a Wholistic Practitioner she incorporates sound healing, laughter yoga, Aroma-therapy, Reiki, healing touch, movement, water hydrotherapy, nutrition, behavior modification and stress management into her trainings.She is creating a "breath movement" to wake people up to their joy and positivenergy with the belief that when you breathe better, you live better. She is also known as Mama Ayo, when sharing cultural presentations or performing as a storyteller, actor, author or speaker. She is the founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13, the Ritual of Reconciliation, founder/director, African American Holiday Association (AAHA) and founder/CEO, PositivEnergyWorks.