Well, yes, I am getting older. You can see it in my eyes. But, that means I’m getting wiser too. I’m getting smarter about what I spend my time doing. Someone I admired once told me “Whatever you say ‘yes’ to, you’re saying ‘no’ to something else. And recently I decided to say “yes” to writing a new book.
My publisher, Rudy Shur at Square One Publishers, approached me about writing a book about breathing techniques to help people with breathing challenges. I hesitated initially, because I didn’t have any first hand experience with the various lung diseases. I spent some time reading about COPD, asthma, emphysema and other challenges, and realized I needed a co-author to help me with the medical information that I wanted–and–needed to include in the new book. Enter. Dr. McLanahan!
I met Dr. Sandra “Amrita” McLanahan in the summer of 1978 when I was at the Satchidananda Ashram in Pomfret, Connecticut where I was taking my Hatha Yoga Teacher Training (which, by the way , changed my life). I was living –well, no, I wasn’t living, I was sleeping–in a pup tent on the grounds of the ashram, having signed up too late to get a bed in the dorm. About half way through the month long training, I started to itch, and soon realized I had poison ivy. In the height of summer weather, buggy and sweaty, trying to wriggle into my sleeping bag at the end of a long day–I was miserable!
One especially hot afternoon, our teachers gave us a break and took all 40 of us fledgling Yoga teachers for a swim at a nearby lake, magical waterfall included, owned by a fellow Yogi. Dr. McLanahan was among the many ashramites who had joined us in our afternoon off. She had heard about my misery and sought me out, to give her moral support and friendly doctor-ly advice. She suggested I go to the beach for a couple days and swim in the ocean. It was such a merciful idea, and it came from such a kindly place of compassion, I was immediately drawn to her. We have been friends ever since.
Dr. McLanahan, “Amrita” to her thousands of friends and patients, has been a family physician specializing in alternative, complementary, and integrative medicine for over 40 years. A fellow disciple of Swami Satchidananda, she was instrumental in helping Dr. Dean Ornish develop the Stress Management Training that has become the cornerstone of his programs at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, using Yoga and lifestyle changes to reverse heart disease and cancer. An inspired lecturer, she lives in the Yogaville community in Buckingham, Va., where she gives programs and lectures on the latest discoveries in health and wellness.
I am honored to have her on board to help put the new book together for Square One. The working title is “Take a Deep Breath”. You can learn more about Amrita and her upcoming programs at the Yogaville website. I’ll be writing more about the new book soon, and if you have lung disease and would like to be on my mailing list for updates, please sign up below, and be sure to let us know if you have any questions or issues you’d be especially interested in.