My Journey With Breath
I began my exploration into yoga and yoga breathing as a broken athlete with low back and knee injuries sustained from individual and team sports. I’d been a competitive athlete in everything from football to surfing since the age of nine. While my body may have “looked good” on the outside, by my mid-30’s, I was feeling the effects of over-training and injury.
In 1994, I was a competitor in the Around The Island Swim (22 ½ mile) in Atlantic City, NJ. The only amateur in a field of 27 professional swimmers, I finished 14th out of a field of 28. This was the turning point for me as I had put my body and mind through the most grueling competitive challenge to date.
The Around The Island Swim in a combination ocean and bay marathon at a time of year when the water temperature is 59 degrees on average. The swim includes changes in temperature, tides and currents that challenged all 28 swimmers. The first 7 miles of the race were great. I was swimming effortlessly without any perceived problems. It was the next 10 miles of my race that were truly debilitating and ultimately life changing. During that 10 miles, I can’t count how many times my mind encouraged me to stop while my body violently revolted against the demands of a grueling swim. I was physically vomiting and very cold. I was having many mental hallucinations. My body temperature had dropped and was experiencing the early to mid stages of hypothermia. At or around mile 17 something shifted. I didn’t understand it at the time but admittedly, I was grateful. Something took over me or should I say, something let go of me; my ego.
When the internal battle within my mind had finally felt as though it died, I became empowered. I started to swim like I had never swam before in my life. A warm bright energy rose up from my pelvic basin. It felt like a bottomless source of energy that I never experienced before in my life. I began to swim at 85 to 90 strokes a minute for the last 5 1/2 miles crossing the finishing line. What I can share about that moment is that I wasn’t swimming any more.
Something greater than me began to swim for me, and I was on the ride of my life.
I didn’t want it to end. I felt invincible. In fact, I felt so great I wanted to swim the race again that night. I had become one with the water molecules of the ocean in those moments. I wasn’t moving my arms against the water like I was when my ego was in charge; the water was now moving my arms. I was in “flow” or “the zone” as its’ commonly called in athletics. Truthfully, I had never experienced that space again until my introduction to yoga a few years later. That was my next understanding to the power of the connection between the mind and body. And admittedly, I was immediately drawn to the breathing and meditation limbs of yoga.
As an athlete, I wondered why we were never really taught the importance of linking breath with movement. And, that different breathing techniques facilitated different physiologic functions in the body. That is my gift to all of you. There is a union that takes place between the body/mind that can only happen through breath. That union makes us more powerful physically, mentally and emotionally than you can ever imagine. In fact, today’s research reveals that “flow states” enable us to increase cognitive performance by 500% to 700%.
I came in 14th out of 28 starters that day.
Fourteen professionals quit during the last 5 ½ miles of the race because the currents and conditions were so challenging. For me, that was my invincible moment to realize the potential of Self.
It is my mission to help you find the same within YOU! Go BE Great.
Because of the profound positive effects on him physically and emotionally, Ed studied at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health became a Certified Yoga Instructor. Since then, Ed has been blessed and influenced by the Master teachings of Yoganand Michael Carroll, Stephen Cope and Jonathan Foust. Inspired and amazed by the effects of yogic breathing, Ed explored, became Certified in Advanced Pranayama and began mastering advanced forms of Pranayama into his athletic background. He began to uniquely sequence basic, intermediate and advanced forms of Pranayama to facilitate Inspiratory Muscle Training.
Ed found a way to fuse the worlds of yoga and sports in a revolutionary way. He brings yogic breathing, Cross-patterning yoga and meditation into the western sports paradigm either as a primary training tool or hybrid within an athletic environment and created the Mind Body Athlete® performance training program. Ed is also certified as a Advanced Meditation Teacher.
Ed has united his vast experiential understanding of competitive athletics and human anatomy; his powerful, foundational awareness of the ancient science of breath-work, and an expertly built posture and movement practice, reaching deep inside the knowledge of the cellular body and the human spirit. Ed’s wisdoms and philosophies are translated through his Cross Patterning Yoga™ techniques creating a new system of Yoga which skillfully and continually offers an opening for transformation, expansion and healing each time his students come to the mat.