Don’t Forget To Breathe

by Lena

elena levon-bali-yoga-don't-forget-to-breathe
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

I know some of you might wonder, what the hell happened to that woman with all her thousands of flaws and a suitcase-load of crazy. Has she slipped and fell on that “most dangerous hike in China” or got kidnapped in Mongolia?

Not really, no.

The truth is ~

I’ve been trying to remember how to breathe…

… in New York.

In the next months I will write how I got here and why. Here’s the “tease list” of the upcoming chapters …

* Police officer in Venice, Italy stopped the train for me.

* Lived in a villa next to George Clooney in Laglio, Como.

* Got drenched inside one of the main fountains in Como & partied like a rock star.

* Swam topless in South of France.

* Ran under the rain in Paris.

* Got in a fight with Russian mobsters at a strip club in Saint Petersburg.

* Made a decision to move cross-country from Los Angeles to New York.

If you’ve been a reader of my site for a while, you might know, that in the past year or so I’ve been on the road almost permanently. This journey was life changing, with so many moments that took my breath away. But in the midst of it all, I simply forgot how to breathe… My life has been a roller coaster of never-ending exiting adventures, one right after another. Some might say that I’m too spoiled and don’t know how lucky I am to have such a lifestyle… A nomad life is not going anywhere, it will still be there, when I’m ready…

* Had to put on hold my travel plans to China through Mongolia, due to a bunch of different issues that came up…

At 27-29 years young, not many think about mortality and really know what the “health is the most important thing in your life” phrase really means. I do. My health has twisted me in knots, punches and knockouts in the past few years and travel has been an escape. I won’t go into all the boring details of the whole saga, but rather share something with you, that I have learned through my struggle and continue to learn…

I think for a split second I forgot that I am in fact, only a student. Thought I knew everything and could take on any health issues with a fight… after all, I’m an Aries. The truth is, fighting is a vicious cycle, that only hurts you more and the cycle, only you have the tools, to break. In the past years I’ve been to all doctors possible, did all kinds of tests, daily ate pills and herbs like it was my dinner and stayed up until 4 am researching on internet. After yet another failure, I packed a backpack/suitcase and got back on the road…

The Road is always there, it never judges, it doesn’t ask “so, what do ya do for living” , it doesn’t tell me “your clock is ticking”, it doesn’t mind if I’m “too skinny or too chubby” and it sure as hell doesn’t care that I have Hyperhidrosis and other health issues … it’s just happy I’m on it.

On the road, I let my body forget that something is wrong with it… the people I’ve met, total strangers, were the best medicine for me… they replaced, doctors, healers, my herbs and acupuncture needles. They made me smile, laugh and held me when I wanted to cry. Some ask “aren’t you lonely traveling by yourself ?” … Do you want to know the truth? ~ I’m more lonely sometimes when I’m not… The reason for that is that it’s been incredibly hard for me to have real connections with people off the road… I have no idea why. When you’re traveling you’re never lonely, because there’s never even a hint of routine and wherever you go, people open their hearts and you have stronger connections with those strangers, than with some people you’ve known for years.

In our “normal” lives, people in US make “plans” a week before, to “do lunch”, “dinner” , “drinks” with their friends… that’s very foreign to someone like me… it’s not that I don’t “do lunch” or drinks, I just don’t do “plans”… at all. I want to be surprised by life and people in my life. I want you to knock on my door without calling, with some random friend of yours, who just came from Brazil and who needs a hug or a drink, or both… or if you knock on my door saying “hey elle, i’ve missed you, you crazy woman, let’s go out and do something together”

Seriously, why, we as society, lost the “joie de vivre” of our daily lives ? …

Now, some of you will say in anger and frustration “America is going through rough times and people don’t have time or money, I can barely make my ends meet” … are you saying that people don’t have time to be people anymore? The little things that make us human… the hug, genuine smile, a laugh that comes from the heart and compassion for another person’s journey?

The kid in Uganda who ran after me screaming “Mzungu” in pouring rain, with no shoes and 0 $ to his name, is more happy than most of us put together… guess all of the flat screen tv’s, twittering, shopping addictions and celebrity obsession, has made us inhuman.

The reason why “Normal” life is not for me is listed in the things I want nothing to do with in life ~

30 year mortgage, credit cards, “beach proposal / wedding”, retirement fund, any kind of “insurance”, 9-5 job, beige color clothing, botox and plastic surgery, huge SUV’s , 2 week “vacation” time, flat screen tv’s, shopping addiction, clutter, shitty fast food, “all you can eat” type of food, wedding rehearsal dinner (what the fuck is that all about? you either do it or don’t.. life is not perfect, neither will be your marriage.. suck it up and stop wasting money on stuff you don’t NEED), “happily ever after” bullshit that every girl wants in America.. that sentence makes me queasy.

Not understanding the difference between need vs. want, white wedding dress ( white represents virginity, thank god, i’m not one anymore, so why pretend ? .. but then again, a lot of marriages today, are just that – a pretend game… and i want nothing to do with that kind of game.. I’ll be wearing black, no baby showers & play dates…. play dates? Is this a joke? Since when did some women became those professional “diaper sniffers” ( thank you, George Carlin and RIP )  instead of Wooomen? Ladies, you’re making your own grave with your own hands. Buy your husband a lap dance instead…or give him one yourself… ( your marriage will benefit much more )
( Maybe this is the “American dream” – but it’s definitely not my dream! )

This is the reason I traveled ~ I felt more healthier and happier when I was on the road. However, the “healthier part” slowly but surely, bailed on me on my last trip… It’s funny, I donated 17 inches of my gorgeous curls in March and now I was the one who started to lose hair rapidly, because of my own health issues … interesting the way life works, huh? I  also had to deal (again) with people in Moscow about the apartment that I own. They turned out to be criminals who double crossed me. ( all the exiting details will be published in my future book someday ) Those events got my already failing health, to a point where I had no more breath in me, in order to continue my journey to China through Mongolia… I chose Breath…

In 2010 Balinese healer suggested yoga for me. Being someone who is constantly on the road it was hard to stick to a Yoga Therapy and also for someone with Hyperhidrosis to be able to do yoga is incredibly challenging. I thought my travel will heal me. Travel did heal me in more ways than one, but it couldn’t do the “Breathing” part for me… I am the only one responsible for my breath. I am the only one who needs to take that kind of responsibility. No doctors, no pills or needles are going to “Breathe for me” …
Even though a few of the most important words in life were staring at me from the top of this very page … “Don’t forget to breathe” …

I forgot.

It took me 3 years to really “hear” what the Balinese healer was trying to say. It took me almost 2 years to really “see” the very words that my own hand wrote. It took me several months to embrace “stillness”, it took less than a week to find a place where I can just “be”.

And now, for 1 hour every day, I’m surrendering my whole being to “Breath”…


Today, Juan, a wonderful man, who works in my building, helped me carry a desk (from which I’m able to write now) into my apartment that was supposed to be assembled by people who delivered it, instead, they just dropped it off and left. Juan assembled it for me. He said “you know, the smile you see every morning from me is a genuine smile”…
“yes, I can feel that” – I replied.
He shared some of his life stories with me and I shared mine.
I felt once again, that sort of connection with another human being as I used to experience on my travels. It was real.
I thanked him and we hugged. That hug and “thank you” was not just for the desk.
It was for being so brave, honest and human.


I want to thank Lara BenusisAdrian Molina and Stephanie Culen. You are incredible souls and I’m honored to be your student.

Thank you for helping me remember how to breathe, for teaching me how to surrender to breath and for reminding me that I am limitless…

You are changing my life and helping me heal.


This time around I’m showing the middle finger to Hyperhidrosis, by buying special socks, gloves and mat that will help me stick to Yoga Therapy ( pun intended ).

Doing Yoga is not easy as it is, but with HH is overwhelmly challenging ( soles and palms ). Even though Hyperhidrosis has taken my ability to do many things in life freely, such as pair dancing, gymnastics, holding hands, shaking hands, wearing strappy sandals and a bunch of other “normal” everyday life activities, I won’t let it stand between me and my health.

My Dear Hyperhidrosis, ( insert image of the middle finger ) Namaste!


I broke down several times during and at the end of my yoga practices…
Yoga reminds me of traveling…
Only this time,
I’m traveling back to myself…
Back to where I began and to where, one day, my body will be no more…
First to last
from between to above
And then back into Infinity…


my sweaty eagle pose-elena-levon-yoga___________________________

The woman behind the breath …