How Mindfulness Helps Me Thrive with Asthma

When Georgina Miranda was diagnosed with severe asthma, she realized how working with mindfulness could help her find the courage not only to summit mountains, but also to slow down and embrace taking things one breath at a time.

Adobe Stock/ Andre

I’ve been getting acquainted with the breath for a long time. I encountered it in a new way as a budding mountain athlete 13 years ago, noticing as I took my first steps on a mountain how the air grew thin and scarce the higher the altitude. When I deepened into my practices of mindfulness and yoga, I discovered that a simple breath could bring an immediate sense of renewal when nothing else could. And again, as I ascended peaks like Mount Everest, I experienced how my breath could ground and center me while on the boundaries between life and death. I thought that I knew my breath pretty well—and I did. But none of this could fully prepare me for last January, when I found myself in an emergency room, gasping for any breath at all. 

After my oxygen levels dropped to a life-threatening low, and finding myself unable to breathe on my own, I was rushed to a hospital in Portugal, where I was living at the time. I spent 24 hours in the ER as doctors tried to determine what was wrong with me and to stabilize me and my breathing. The first…