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Just F*&%ing Breathe.

Yes you read that right.  Just F*&%ing Breathe.

I used to teach a weekly yoga class at Elmwood, a correction facility in my area. I now go there monthly but this was during the time I could be there weekly.

One Saturday we were more than a little delayed in getting started. I was getting concerned we have just a short hour to meet before lunch. “M” was the first to arrive in class  about 10 minutes late and she reported the reason for the delay.

There had been a frustrating situation going on in the jail.  A change in snack offerings had caused the women to become upset and a lot of negative energy was coursing through the unit. The others were still volubly discussing the snack situation, tempers were flaring; the situation was verging on lockdown.  “M” was able to leave the area and come to class, turning back and hollering to the others:

“Just F*&%ing BREATHE.”

What an honor to have the most vital lesson of our weekly Y12SR (Yoga of Twelve Step Recovery) meetings be remembered and applied at least by one of the women. Even with the expletive, or perhaps even more powerfully because of it.

The breath can offer you choices about your behavior. The breath can give you an option to act in dignity rather than impulsive anger. The breath can help you think things through. It can let you walk away from a bad situation and avoid lockdown. It can help you accept situations as they are.

The rest of the women filed in not long thereafter and we talked.  We talked about choices, dignity, and breath. And we breathed together and we found peace.

The message was repeated to me later in the week, from a totally different source. I was driving to Mariposa, a local residential treatment center, and I heard a man on the radio say “We all just have to stop and take a breath.”  He was referring to the tar sands and pipelines and our rash decisions in regards to energy.  He knew (like “M”, the woman in Elmwood) we needed to breathe, step back and think. Consider the options, the sky and the land what we are all a part of; not just for the convenience of the present moment but forever. “Take a breath.”

“Sometimes it’s ok if the only thing [I do] today is breathe.”  For real.  If my conscious thought could stay on my breath it would be a rich thing indeed.  I do have tasks and duties and I have “things” and this and that.  Sometimes it is ok just to breathe and take it all in: IT being the ALL I do the tasks and things FOR  to be on this planet with love and appreciation.  And that takes a moment.  Take a moment and breathe.  Now.  In love and appreciation.  Then off into your perfect day.


Kyczy Hawk; author and E-RYT 500 Kyczy has been teaching recovery focused yoga classes since 2008. She is also an author having published several books combining the philosophy of yoga with recovery principles. Her most recent books are “Yogic Tools For Recovery; A Guide To Working The Steps” and its companion workbook. She is also the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” , “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” , and “From Burnout to Balance” as well as five recovery oriented word puzzle books.You can also join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 8am PT (11 am ET) on In The Rooms at the Yoga Recovery meeting. She currently holds online Y12SR meetings combining a full 45 minutes of all paths recovery meeting and 45 minutes of all levels yoga.It meets Sundays 4pm PDT (register at .) Kyczy is very proud of her family; husband, kids, and grandkids, all who amaze her in unique and wonderful ways. Join her mailing list for other information and links to free classes at


  1. This was well written. I did some work at Elmwood in the 80’s and early 90s’. Now I”m working at other prisons including Solano and San Quentin. Breath work is so crucial for people in those institutions and it’s a skill that they can implement any time and any place. Thanks for the blast to the past.
    Onward & Upward with Hope,
    Steve G.

  2. Great article! Just what I needed today…found myself taking a few deep breath’s while reading which was a plus. 🙂

  3. Thanks Kyczy for the reminder. I could have used this today. I did use the slogan Easy Does It, instead. I have not done any yoga other than an intro class in which the instructor was in great shape, despite being very pregnant at the time. I do some stretching and that is helpful. More breathing is good. Thanks.

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