Breath As Protest: The Start of Something

Please note that the main purpose of this blog is to be a repository for my ideas and a place I can make mistakes outside of the traditional academic frameworks that OF COURSE I adhere to as part of my Masters in Research and forthcoming PhD applications. There will be typos and grammatical inconsistencies. You have been warned! 🙂

I used to freelance as a UX/UI designer for a startup that was hot-desking in Shoreditch. On my cycle into work, there was a particular junction – the one outside the station – where my lungs felt like they would implode from the vehicle fumes. I became THAT breathless.

I have no history of respiratory disorders yet it seems that myself and so many other Londoners struggle with breathing on a daily basis (I now live in Brighton and appreciate the sea breeze). Some of us may skip off to the gym or a yoga class to “get lean”. But how is our health on a cellular level?

As a yoga teacher who tries to communicate the importance of breathing fully, I’m aware that we aren’t conscious of our breathing all the time. Our wandering minds habitually focus on other things.

But, if we direct our attention to our breathing and trust in our own interoception (how our bodies feel internally), I think more of us would be shocked.

So, my real nagging question is: why is it not enough that our bodies can perceptibly sense air pollution for something to be done about it?

Actually I have a few more questions:

  • Does our society devalue embodied knowledge to the point that we ignore our own experience of breathing as legitimate evidence of air pollution?
  • Will we listen when expensive studies are conducted by scientists belonging to prestigious institutions? The history of communication strategies for “climate change” and the rest of human-made ecocide indicate that we collectively won’t.
  • How do we communicate that BREATH IS LIFE FORCE? Air is a shared medium between all ecosystems on this planet. Including us. I borrow an idea from yogic philosophy here.
  • Lastly, where can I buy a fashionable breathing mask? (Just kidding.)

So this blog is the start of something new. If you like, it’s an exegesis of my forthcoming, self-lead research into Breath as Protest and Life Force and basically Number 42 (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference).

Realistically, my research methods and practices are going to come out of trial and error and general inquisitive open-mindedness.

I am already fretting about the structure of this post (or lack thereof) but I need to start being more “agile” and “lean” with developing these ideas, as I used to in the trendy Shoreditch office with awkward plugs positioned between people’s legs… so awkward.

I digress. Here we go! PUBLISH.

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