Breathing To Be 100!

90-year-old Australian Rower, Ralph Howard

The 80 and 90 year old women and men that I see frequently in the medical clinic never cease to amaze me.  Many are still driving, living on their own, dress beautifully (and colorfully!) and have a zest for life reflected in their curiosity, creativity, sense of humor, and varied interests that I find contagious!  I often ask them how old they feel inside and I often get the answer of at least 50 years younger than their actual age.

I remember when I turned 50, and was having a very difficult time of it.  I asked a beautiful woman in her 70’s how old she felt inside and she paused a bit and then said – well I do believe I feel about 24, until I pass by a mirror and happen to glance at my image she laughed.  It was then that I realized that aging is an inside job – and how healthy and vital we remain through the years that we are given is a great deal in our hands, our minds, our hearts – and our practices.

90-year-old Andora Quimby started weight training at age 78!

Here is a portion of a blog post on Living To Be 100 from David Dowell – Creator of OomphTV (who has a mother in her 80’s that teaches yoga and has recently launched, with her daughter, a business called The Green Buddha)

Be sure to look for Breathing Spaces additional “secret”!

Today I ran across an article from Health magazine.
Apparently those born after the year 2000 are more likely than ever to live to 100, according to research from Denmark. Good news for the kids, but what about us grown-ups?
Genetics do play a big factor in how long you live (thank you grandparents), but only somewhere between 20% and 50%, depending on the experts you ask. That still leaves over 50% up to YOU! Walter Bortz II, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford, suggests how you can improve your odds of a long life and reduce disease.

We can call this The Walter Bortz II, MD, Secrets to a Long Life:
*Bulk up on fruits and veggies, +5 years (plant based whole foods diets reduce disease)
*Exercise five days a week, +2 to +4 years (move and elevate your heart rate for a half-hour a day, minimum)
*Reduce stress, up to +6 years (from meditation to music to movement to art therapy. Find something that work for you.
*Get a hobby, +2 years (provides a sense of accomplishment.)
*Floss, +6.4 years (removing harmful bacteria reduces stroke and heart attack risks.)
*Vacation, +1 to +2 years (leisure is a great stress reliever!)
*Sleep seven to eight hours nightly, +2 years (sleep assists cell repair.)
*Have sex, +3 to +5 years (releases feel good hormones and burns about 200 calories, too!)
Thought you would like to know!


*BreathingSpaces Addition:

Breathe Consciously and Fully, +7 years (assists body/mind/heart/spirit to stay vital, energetic, and in balance/harmony!  Also great stress reliever and disease buster!! )

After all is said and done my vote is for quality, and the above “good habits” can certainly contribute to that.   By the way, it is never too late to start!  Let us know if there are additional practices that you would add!

Addendum: For more info on Andora Quimby

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT: Most Recent Post: Keeping Your Head When Others Are Losing Theirs

Do You Remember?


Beauty is here.

and you are here…

you were always here…

do you remember?




Reflections today on the awareness that we are not what and who we think we are and neither is any one else.  As Jon Kabat-Zinn says in his book, Coming to Our Senses – Healing Ourselves and The World Through Mindfulnes:

“We are all much larger, and more mysterious.  Once we know this, our possibilities for creativity expand enormously, because we understand something about how we get in our own way and are diminished through our obsessive self-involvement and self-centeredness, our preoccupation with what we think is important but really isn’t fundamental. ”

May we always remember the interconnection with the many sacred gifts around us.  We are the stuff of which all of this is made… in the breathing space of the planet we call earth. Let us collaborate with, and support creativity in each other – sustaining this life, our lives – the future generations of all living things!

Echoes of Creation – An Official Trailer

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Here you will find the symbols of Inhale and Exhale.  There is an ancient practice called Qi Gong, or Chi Kung, which relies on the breath as an integral piece of the practice.  Qi Gong is described as: “the philosophy and practice of aligning breath, physical activity and awareness for mental, spiritual and corporeal health, as well as the development of human potential. It includes certain forms of martial arts and the spiritual awakening to one’s true nature.”

Like Dan Brule of BreathMastery (who’s website offers 5 core breath practices) you might see in these symbols the following:

I see in the symbol for the exhale a bold vertical stroke that reminds me of the spine. It has what appears to be a serpent rising and coiling upward around the spine. (depicting what in Yogic literature is called the “Kundalini Serpent”).  That same vertical stoke appears on the inhale too. But on the inhale, I see a downward diagonal stroke shooting thru what looks like a rounded belly. This reminds me to send the breath deep into the abdomen. Directing the breath energy into the “dan tien” is a basic practice in Chi Kung.”

It is within this movement of inhale and exhale that we live and thrive.  In the rising like a serpent up the spine, and the softening of the rounded belly, we move the life energy/chi that is necessary for our vital health and aliveness.

In our often sedentary lifestyles in the Western culture that natural breath is squelched and contracted into a shallow chest effort that often never, ever gets down to our bellies, let alone front, back and sides.  Stagnation and dis-ease converge on our already stimulus overloaded bodies and we lose our zest for life – or perhaps life itself.

This on the other hand is what we aim for:  “For the most part, when the breathing mechanism is uninhibited, it will reflect and express your moment to moment natural state. A healthy breathing mechanism will automatically adjust itself to your energy. It will respond naturally to chemical or metabolic changes, to the intensity of your emotional experience or physical activity. And, it should respond easily effortlessly to your conscious will.” Dan Brule

Continually seeking practices that enhance the practice of breathing consciously, shake us lose from our inhibited and habitual breath patterns, and that increase life energy there appeared on my Facebook page today a very fun video with Dr. George Love ( of Baton Roca, Florida.  Dr. Love is an acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and a Master of Blue Dragon Qigong. I don’t think that he will be able to make his living doing rap….but what he does have to offer here is a way to move that chi around and BREATHE!  Have fun!!


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Trees Are The Lungs Of The Earth

“Don’t cut your trees, because the trees are the lungs of the earth. ”
-Milda Sebris , a resident at Ellen Memorial Health Care Center, turned 100 on 1/26/11.

To breathe is to live embodied.  Without this exquisite process going on day after day, year after year, moment after moment we would not be functional – we would not be alive!  Trees help the planet breathe by turning carbon dioxide into clean, pure oxygen. Plants are considered the lungs of the earth because plants produce oxygen, which is necessary for all life, so in essence, since our lungs keep us alive and trees keep our lungs alive we can consider trees to be a part of our lungs existence.  This is all part of the deep interconnectedness of all life.

Our lungs are quite amazing actually.  Did you know that there are about 300 million alveoli in the adult lung. The alveolar sacs consist of many alveoli and are composed of a single layer of epithelial tissue.  If these alveoli were pressed flat and spread out they would take up the space of a football field.  That is, a football field (including the two end zones) is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide for a total of 57,600 square feet!

Alveoli in the Lungs

The alveoli are considered the functional or foundational unit of the lung. In the spaces between the alveoli of the lungs is elastic connective tissue which is important for exhalation.  It is here, surrounded by pulmonary capillaries, that gases are exchanged and we are enlivened with every inhale and exhale that we take.

Each alveolus is lined with a thin layer of tissue fluid, which is essential for the diffusion of gases, because a gas must dissolve in a liquid in order to enter or leave a cell.  This is called the “earthworm principle”.  An earthworm will breathe through it’s moist skin and suffocate if it’s skin dries out.

The inner walls of the alveoli are covered with a lipid material known as surfactant. This surfactant helps to stabilize the alveoli preventing their collapse.  Absence of surfactant would be similar to a plastic bag that is wet on the inside.  It’s walls would stick together and not allow for complete expansion.”

This biological process goes on moment after moment for the entirety of our lives, yet in order to breathe fully we need the support of the natural world around us.  As this world is tampered with by humans, the planet lets us know we are off balance with global climate change and other dramatic signs of imbalance.  Just as if we tampered with the alveoli of our lungs by unhealthy practices that caused disease and imbalance in our systems.

Our Earth is like the alveoli of the lungs – if she dries out she will suffocate.  Without the stabilization of the natural order of things there will be no expansion, no breath, no life – no Breathing Spaces.

Could it be that we need to pay closer attention to the smallest and most foundational parts of our Earth’s processes, and our own,  before we tackle the larger things?  Take yourself out into Nature this week and breathe.

Sergey Melnikoff – Breathing Nature – Selective Shots
Music by Zaza Marjanishvili, Produced by MediaGrail

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Breathing Room – Our Homes As Sanctuaries

“The soul moves in circles” -Plotinus.

Have you ever thought about your living space and how much of a difference it makes on how you breathe and express in your life?

Rachel Ross of Mandala Custom Homes states that if what Plotinus said is true then –   “Hence, our lives do not proceed in straight lines, but reverberate and reflect around and around like a beautifully patterned mandala. Perhaps this is why it feels so good to be in a round space.”

It also feels right and good to be in connection with nature within our homes from the materials that we build our homes with, to the way that they interface with nature.  Having just spent a couple of weeks in my friends home at Dreaming Forest Farm housesitting with the sound of a stream nearby, and the presence of trees all around, calmed my being and allowed breathing spaces inside of me to expand and be nurtured.

Whether you are in the city, the country, on the coast, in the desert,  or in the mountains the opportunity to create breathing room for all that live within is at your fingertips.  Clear, clean, and sustainable spaces contribute to your well being and the environments.

EcoNest co-creator Paula Baker-Laporte says:

EcoNest Home

Our dwelling is our interface with nature. The average person spends 90-95% of their time indoors. In order to enjoy optimum health and well being, we depend on this envelope not just to moderate our climate but also to embrace nature in its majesty and vitality.  ….living in harmony with nature is essential to our physical, mental, and spiritual well being.” –

Sustainable homes that support the ecology of the environment that they are in, as well as our own inner ecology – and the creation of beauty and sanctuary in our home – makes certain that the environment one spends a great deal of time in is a true “breathing space”.

Our living spaces are vitally important for our vibrancy, well being and relationships to each other and the earth.   I invite you to go to both Mandala Custom Homes page through Facebook, and EcoNest (links above) to start dreaming into expanding your breathing room and that of our planets!


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Everything You Need to Know About Life Is In One Breath

“Everything you need to know about life is in one breath.”

Dewitt Jones, Photojournalist







After listening to the recent interview with Dewitt done by Sheila Finkelstein of Picture to Ponder I was brought back again to what an important tool and a metaphor for life the breath is.   You fill yourself up and then the biological imperative is that you must give it back out.  We, at times, attempt to hold our breaths thinking that it will make us “safe”and nothing bad will happen. Amelia Earhart said “Who wants a life imprisoned in safety?”

That is what holding our breath is about. You can’t not breathe – but you can, if you choose to do so, contract away from your own life experience and the calling and relationships that may be asking you out to play, create, and experience life fully, by shallow breathing or holding the breath.


You have to breathe!  Taking in a full breath fills you, gives energy, stimulates natural biological processes, and expands your potential for excitement about life and the contribution that you naturally have to bring.


Your contribution is then present in the exhale.   A giving out of the fullness that you have just taken in from a place of enough – to sustain, support, and create new life. For within the exhale a space is created to bring in more.


There is always enough, and for most living things this process is on automatic.  It is something that we can trust and relax into, especially during particularly difficult or stressful times.  Can we use the breath as a tool for recognizing the wealth and potential that is our life now?


Soft belly, relaxed shoulders, face and mind at peace – take time NOW to enter a Breathing Space of fullness.


Take that full breath and move, breathe and listen to Words From The Hopi Elders:

( from the album Songs of the Earth – Majbritte Ulrikkeholm & Søren Frieboe)  The music video was filmed by Majbritte Ulrikkeholm & Søren Frieboe .  Listen to the album on


IGNITE! – New Beginnings

As I walked the nature path with my neighbors dog today seeing the smiling faces of many, I realized that my energy was low.  The sun shining down upon me, the brisk air, and the contact with the Earth was enlivening me in a way that staying indoors and resting had not.

Allowing my shoulders to relax and my feet to make connection with the ground beneath me, I became aware of the earth supporting me as I breathed.   Self- image, at times based on a sense of separation from others and from the objects that senses perceive, let go of its grip.  It was at this moment that breath expanded lower into my belly and throughout my body.  A new and vibrant energy pulsed through me.

These changes were not produced by any kind of “doing”, but instead experiencing the moment as it is  with absolute presence.  The sense of “being supported by the Earth” will shift your breath and your awareness, and when practiced on a regular basis will allow you to energize, ignite,  and take action on the changes that will alter your life in the ways you dream and vision for this coming year.

With the coming of the New Year you may feel this need to renew, energize and shift into new awareness.  The astrology for this first month of 2011 also brings with it opportunity to expand beyond our old patterns and beliefs, and energize life altering changes freeing us from perceived limitations.

Scott Wolfram of The Travelers Well speaks on “igniting a vibrant explosion of energy” in your life now in the month of Janus. 

He says in his most recent newsletter:

“… as we move into the New Year, we move into the month of January, which is named for the Roman god Janus.  Janus is the god of boundaries and transitions, of doorways and new beginnings.  At each New Year, we all pass over a boundary of time and transition from one year to the next.   From the perspective of Janus, the New Year is more than changing the calendar it is the crossing of the boundary between the past and the future.”

He goes on to say that “the first 2-3 weeks of this year are the best times to energize 2011 as Jupiter will conjunct Uranus (at 27 degrees of Pisces) – which will not happen again until the year 2024!  The conjunction of these two forward-looking and powerful planets provides an opportunity to energize the future oriented perspective of Janus.  Jupiter and Uranus provide one of the most powerful astrological combinations to energize life altering changes, freeing us from the limitations of the past and projecting us into the future.”

The beautiful video below reveals to us the vastness, light, mystery,  and ever evolving Presence of all life – you included.

Time for a New Beginning
A spacey eclipse in the vacuum of space Nominee in the 1st Annual Firmament Video Awards Category.  Music: ‘Dawn of a New Century’ by Secret Garden

Practice the breathing space of connection with the Earth this month.  Feel the support, open the breath, and ignite your passions and creativity – freedom!