When I was ten years old, I suffered from asthma. It often was quite bad. I had the standard spray. It helped. When it was really bad, I took some pills. They both sped up my heart to the point where it felt like it would burst from my chest. If I took too much, so the warning went on the bottle, it might just burst and I would die.

One night it was bad. I was wheezing and struggling to breathe. The effort created stress and the stress made it worse. I already used all the spray recommended as safe. And took all the pills allowed before it would become dangerous. In a state of panic, fear, and feeling hopeless, I got up and went to my parent’s room. I told them I was afraid, could not breathe and needed help.

They calmly walked me back to my bed, stood over me and said, it would be fine. Then they left me. They did nothing. I was alone and I was going to die. That is how I felt. In addition to all the other feelings, I now could add feeling abandoned. It was terrible. The fear began to whisper to me I would not be able to get enough air to breathe and I would die during the night. I believed this statement and prepared for the worst.

I don’t know exactly how I managed but I did survive. ¬†Years later I noticed a decision I made that night to take responsibility for my health and my life. It was clear my parents were not going to do this. And equally clear the medical profession did not know how to treat asthma. They will tell you that it is untreatable and once you have asthma, you will have this for your whole life.

For the next ten years of my life, I started to make the decisions to change the asthma. I became a vegetarian, practiced karate, started yoga and spent more time in nature. Over time the spray and pills were not needed. The asthma came less and less until about age 20, then it was gone never to return.

It is a curious thing about the really difficult challenges in our lives. I believe it is true for everyone. Our worst experiences can become our greatest gifts. Going from that frightened ten year old who believed he was going to die to become a teacher instruction others how to breathe, live and take responsibility for their lives.

I have taught the science of kundalini yoga for over 40 years. This includes many powerful breathing practices, meditations and special kriyas with the breath. I have learned of special postures to help cure asthma. I teach all this to other people who have also decided to take responsibility for their life.

Photo: Me at around age 2 or 3 standing in front of our house in Surfside Florida. I don’t remember being a boxer, but there is a fighting spirit that lives in me.