Previously On Martinez Yoga…
As Britney Spears said, “Breathe! Oh, yeah!” The breath is under-rated. I took that line from one of my students at Gilda’s Club NYC. She said that one day after class, and she’s right. The breath IS under-rated. I give her props for such insight.
The past two weeks have been intense for me. Every June I get tested for cancer, for I had testicular cancer seven years ago. I was thirty-four years old at the time, and I was physically fit and healthy. Very active. I was doing triathlons, marathons, and practiced a physically challenging Vinyasa Yoga series. I had aches and pains, but had no clue it was cancer. It turned out that I had two tumors, one on my left testicle and one between my kidney and bladder. I had chemo and surgeries for six months. Not good times, but I had an awesome team at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where I had treatment, along with a loving family and friends that took care of me, never letting me feel I was alone. So blessed and fortunate to have them by my side as I was going through hell.
I came through it fine, just a bit scarred. I have an awesome life here in NYC. I love teaching yoga, and I have the best partner ever and wonderful friends.
The past week had me testing for cancer, as normal, once a year now, when I hit a rough patch. Two of the three markers for cancer came back clean, but one was a bit elevated. That one by itself doesn’t necessarily denote cancer, but it can be a part of the puzzle. Blood test after blood test blood test, ultra-sound after ulta-sound, chest x-ray after chest x-ray, primary care physician then urologist after primary care physician then urologist over the course of ten days or so resulted in high blood pressure. What a surprise! “Mr. Martinez, your blood pressure is high. 144 over 94. Not good. Relax and breathe. We’ll take it again in five minutes and once more before you leave.” Relax and breathe. Sounds like a good time for ujjayi breathing. The nurses left me in the examination room and then took my blood pressure again. 140 over 92. Not great, but coming down a little. Totally stressed out, but ujjayi is working, slowly but surely. By the end of the appointment, it was normal, 120 over 80. Amazing.
In the end, everything came out clean, but just had to go through a really stressful time during the process. To calm me down and get through this without freaking out, I did what I tell my students to do in their practice; focus on your breath, your breath unobstructed, allowing your breath to breathe your body. It does work! Your breath is a natural resource. Tap into it when you need it. I did and it helped me through a really challenging time.
Photos by Anna Rose