October 21, 2020

“I can’t breathe,” – The Triad of Pandemics Facing us in 2020

Firdose Moonda

The year 2020 lies at the intersection of a triad of pandemics that could shape societies for decades to come. The overwhelming one is the coronavirus, which, in its most aggressive form, causes respiratory difficulty and has already claimed more than a million lives. As Covid19 became a part of everyday life, a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement took place when after a black man was murdered in Minneapolis by asphyxiation at the hands of a white police officer, and all that happened while campaigns against gender-based violence swept through social media as women cleared their lungs and screamed “enough.” These three subjects have one overarching commonality: they show that the ability to breathe, is the ability to be. In this offering, we will look at the historical significance of breath and its connection to the self through the ancient Indian texts, including the Upaniṣads, before moving to contemporary understandings of how breathwork is used for self-regulation. In this part-theory, part-practice presentation, we will consider the breath as mechanical, spiritual and conscientising and examine how our connections to it have changed as we enter the new normal. 

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Firdose Moonda C

About Firdose Moonda

Firdose Moonda is a researcher, yoga teacher and sports journalist currently completing a PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. She holds an MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from the School of Oriental and African Studies where she used critical race theory and critical pedagogy to examine the teaching methods and efficacy of yoga programs in refugee projects in London. Firdose teaches yoga history and philosophy on Yoga Alliance accredited teacher trainings, runs a yoga program for refugees in Cape Town, a yoga book club and teaches yoga foundations courses, which look at the progression of embodied knowledge. Her doctoral research is looking into the history of yoga in Africa and the Caribbean and seeks to design and roll out a decolonised yoga teacher training which situates the practice in the Global South.