The Breathe Out
Zen Neurotic Exercise Number One


I yoga, but I don’t like yoga evangelicals.  I know it’s my problem, but there’s something I find agitating about yoga-fyers who are too relaxed for their own good, or, worse yet, try to recruit you.   Bless their hearts and their born again therapy, but the zen buzz is what I’m after — the tantric high, the yoga jones — not the nagging rights. I came to yoga through an anonymous gift from a spiritual benefactor — and the practice has served me well.  That said, forgive my intrusion, but I’d like you to help me expand the outside world through a bit of prana.

What I want is for everyone listening to me now to exhale.  Like an “amen.”  I don’t want to impose, I just need a witness.  You’ve got to breath out anyway, so you might as well do it now with me.  If we all breathe out together the shift in the equilibium of the atmosphere will help us make better decisions.  Or maybe not.  But what do you have to lose?  A good breathe out is definitely a boost for you, personally.  I mean that in a very non-evangelical way.  It’s in your best interests, to take advantage of this moment.  Wherever you are, listening my voice, breathe out.  Breathe out in your car.  Breathe out in your home.  Breathe out on your walk.  Breathe out in the stall, on your porch, at the Gypsy Den, in class, at your job, flying down Six flags Colossus, sky diving, blogging, in your cubical, anything else?  You’re in.  Put down that bean and egg burrito and exhale.  But this time breathe out everything that you can.  Down to your rib bones.  Clearing it out.  Puffing it out.  Don’t hurt yourself.  Just imagine that the world is a glorious balloon and you’re here to blow it up.  Blow the world up.  Breathe out.

You can play with your exhale.  Bounce the balloon.  Have fun.  Get a pattern, a rhythm, or just push one long continuous exhale to empty.  The world will have expanded and your lungs will be almost vacant.  Praise be.  Nothing like it.  Here we go.

(Nathan Breathes out)

Yeah.  That was good.    Amen.  But don’t stop there.  You can breathe out whenever you like.  It can even be a private thing.  No one need notice (if you don’t want them to). The breathe out can be nearly imperceptible — even in the middle of a conversation.   So you won’t appear to be, well, a yoga evangelical.

The most beneficial time to do the breathe out is right after you’ve just exhaled something like.  “Beep you, goddam it.  Are you trying to kill me?”

Breathing out eliminates toxins and releases what no longer serves you.  It pushes your head back into the game.  And it’s a kind of protest, a way of stiffing the status quo.

It can even be a little death.   Down to zero.   You’re ready to awake.   You breathe in because there’s nothing left.

So when someone tells you to “Take a deep breath.” Don’t breathe in.  Expand the outside world.  Breathe out. 

(Nathan breathes out.)

— Nathan Callahan

First Broadcast October 7, 2011

© / Nathan Callahan / all rights reserved


Broadcasting Fridays at 8:50 am from KUCI 88.9 fm Orange County, California