(Careful how you) Breathe in LA
This could only be LA up in the mountains of West Hollywood
Invitation from abroad
The journey to come to the US started in a few places. A wedding, a course AND an invitation to LA.
A dear friend from London had moved here a few years back. A life and soul of the party sort. When you get an invitation... you go! And who wouldn't want to enjoy the beautiful glow of the city.
Air Pollution Central:
It would not be fair to say LA is polluted compared to seriously polluted places. Running up against it - I had just spent the last 6 months in some of the freshest air there is. A few months in Australia (an area with some of the cleanest air of the world), the sea side of the South of England, the wilds of Blackhill Country, Texas, remote deserts of New Mexico and the mountains of Colorado.
Stepping off the plane in LA was like walking into a humid bathroom... only replace humidity with car and airplane exhaust fumes. To be fair on me... I noticed immediately!
Air quality is important for breath work!
Any breath worker worth the time will make efforts to ensure their retreats are in clean air locations or have purified the air in their office in some way.
At times it is not possible to get away from air pollution but that doesn't mean we should ignore it. There is SO much we can do to make the air in our home, work and car cleaner. And I promise it makes a big differences.
We would all benefit from ensuring we get some clean air once in a while. Writing a chapter about the perils of air pollution has shocked me some. The sensitive tissues of our respiratory system are like sponges, mini air filters picking up construction dust, exhaust fumes, even burnt rubber particles! It has opened my eyes to the 'dirty' world around us.
Air pollution has been linked to asthma, chronic breathing disorders and even different forms of cancer.
It is all about the PM (particulate matter). 2.5PM is considered the most harmful to us given how it can get imbedded in our lungs.
Where do you think it goes once it is in us? It really depends on the size. If it isn't coughed up, then it can be digested, taken into our blood stream and even embed itself in some of our organs (including the brain!).
I had a blast in LA and will be heading back when I can but I was keen to do my breath work indoors or at least in the beautiful country side a good 50 KM out of the city.
A Jewel State
California is a remarkable state in the US. As one goes through the lands it feels almost like it may be a separate country. The people are different, the politics and the concern for the environment. These are hot topics here. I'm not saying better... but definitely remarkable.
The challenge (as it is in much of the US) - without a car you are up **** creek! The freeways here are packed. So much so they have a separate lane to encourage car pooling.
For as progressive as this city it is, "backwards" describes the transport situation and in certain parts I could literally taste it.
I challenge this beautiful city to make the changes it knows it is going to make anyway. If not to show the rest of the US how it is done then to help its people breathe!
Reducing air pollution in your life.
Just because your home town or city is polluted doesn't mean you have to put up with it. I would start by checking out the air pollution levels in your area. There are many sites depending on the country you live so go online and search for "air pollution levels in...".
Below are tips bringing fresher air into your lungs.
1. Use an purifier. This isn't a Holy Grail and sometimes they come with their own challenges (including maintenance) but they can be very effective. Ensure what you buy meets the Room Air Cleaner Certification Programme and has a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). There are many on the market and they are (unfortunately) not all built equal.
2. If out and about, wear a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) approved facemark. This should cover BOTH your nose and mouth. This is particularly important if you are walking/cycling near traffic or particularly polluted areas such as construction sites.
3. If looking like Darth Vader isn't your thing then re-looking at your route can make a big difference. Avoid high traffic areas.
4. Have house plants! Yes... it is true. There are some houseplants that actually clean the air in their vicinity. Do an search online for "air purifying plants" you can buy in your country .
5. Consider your next move - when it comes time to moving home put some thought into air quality.
6. Campaign - There is nothing like a local government receiving a few thousand letters to help make changes. We can often feel powerless in situations where we feel small but we each have more power than we think.
Big hug LA!