Newsletter — Vol. 2, No. 1
GREETINGS from Betsy Thomason
Celebrating Ski For Light — Bringing BODs to Life
Betsy Thomason reports from cross-country ski trails high in the Sierras
Ski For Light celebrating great snow at Auburn Ski Club, Donner Summit, CA
How about sports like skating and skiing? Do you participate? Or perhaps you prefer to watch sports on television — like the Winter Olympics.
For me, Betsy Thomason, skiing helps me love winter — ever since I was a kid in the
What defines winter for you?
Weather? Celebrations? Indoors? Outdoors?
1950s trudging up Prospect Hill in Waltham, Massachusetts on wooden skis with cable bindings and free heels. Like mice on a treadmill, my three siblings and I would herringbone up the hill, then yelp as we sailed down, trying to get a grip on inside edgesto snowplow.
In the early 1980s, I changed from downhill to cross-country skiing. Developing cross-country ski technique improved my enjoyment. Then I discovered the BreatheOutDynamic system (BODs), and started using my outbreath to create efficient rhythms to tap into my energy reserves — essential for the long haul of cross-country skiing, especially at high altitude. When you’re active outdoors in the winter, you must be prepared for the unexpected. BODs gives me confidence that I can go the extra mile, if need be.
The BreatheOutDynamic system (BODs)
and CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
In 1999, I discovered Ski for Light, an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life and independence of visually or mobility impaired adults through a program of cross-country skiing. I’ve returned year after year for this week-long program at ski centers from Colorado to Alaska.
In 2007, after I began writing Just Breathe Out—Using Your Breath to Create a New, Healthier You, I started sharing my knowledge with my Ski for Light buddies. Then they started sharing their BODs stories and wisdom with me. You can read these in Chapter 1.
Let me introduce you to my Ski for Light BODs buddies who wrote those stories:
Anthony Nelson (left) of Columbia, South Carolina with ski guide Mika Brewer from Wayland, Massachusetts,
willfully seeks winter. He got hooked on cross-country skiing five years ago at Ski for Light in Colorado. No matter if the wind is howling with blowing snow and ice pellets or the sun is playing tricks in the ski tracks, Anthony is quite at home. A health coach and legally blind, Anthony represented the USA in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea in track and field in the 1500 meters. At that time he says, he had an intuitive sense of the power of the active outbreath. At Ski for LIght he learned BODs, confirming his intuitive understanding. In addition, he discovered the passive inbreath, another way to save energy. Back home at sea level, Anthony incorporates BODs in his health coaching.
Dave Van Der Molen (left) from Elmira, Ontario, Canada, with his ski guide Dmitri Krasik from Brookline, Massachusetts
is a veteran cross-country skier who has been blind since birth. An audio book narrator, he coached me as I rehearsed, recorded, and edited the Just Breathe Out audio book. Thanks to this Ski for Light relationship,Just Breathe Out is available at audible.com for those of us who don’t qualify for the Library of Congress audio book. See below for a free offer.
FREE Versions of
Just Breathe Out
In 2018, Just Breathe Out, the
e-book version, is available at no cost— you just have to ask Betsy!
There are a limited number of free iTunes/Audible Just Breathe Out books available. Ask Betsy for the Audible code for a free audio book available from the audible.com
Please share this vital outbreath
knowledge. Invite Betsy to speak at your workplace or your community center. Breathing is for everyone, but few know the power of their very own outbreath for strength, relaxation, stress and pain management, and conquering addiction.
Ski for Light ski guides Lee Coleman (left) from Walla Walla, Washington and Lynn Cox of Excelsior, Minnesota
understand the power of the outbreath. In Just Breathe Out, Chapter 3, Lee, professor emeritus of physical education at Whitman College in Walla Wala, is emphatic about the human need for physical activity, especially for pre-school and school-age children. “Physical education enriches and sustains all aspects of life,” she says “The starting point for effective movement is efficient breathing. Everyone can breathe, but few have learned — then practiced — good technique. . . . The BreatheOutDynamic system is perfect technique,” states Coleman.
Judy Dixon (right) from Arlington, Virginia,
with Seeing Eye dog Potter, and Betsy, is Consumer Relations Officer for the National Library Service at the Library of Congress. She has been involved in Ski for Light since 1977, first as a skier and now as support staff. Judy submitted Just Breathe Out to the rigorous Library of Congress vetting process. You never know where the ski tracks will lead. Today, the National Library Service offers Just Breathe Out in braille and as a talking book.
And thanks to numerous unpublished Ski for Light participants who tell me that BODs has improved their abilities. They often report things like, “I can ski uphillnow because I use my outbreath”or “I was scared, but my outbreath calmed me down, helping me to feel safe."
I am so grateful for the Ski for Light stories in Just Breathe Out. It’s not simply that Ski for Light participants are learning BODs. The reverse is also true: people seeking good health by reading Just Breathe Out are discovering Ski for Light. For example, Abraham Sweiss, a blind skier from Durham, North Carolina. We met in January 2018 at the Ski for Light week at Tahoe Donner Ski Center in California. The reason Abraham was present is Just Breathe Out. He read the braille version and said, “This is for me."
Ski for Light is another example of winter bringing people closer together.
The BreatheOutDynamic system brings people closer
to their true self.
Dick Kellor . . .
. . . retired scientist and cross-country ski guide. credits BODs with helping him climb the ski hills at Soldier Hollow near Provo, Utah, the 2002 winter Olympic cross-country ski venue. At home in Chaska, Minnesota, he reports using BODs as a sleep aid. “I’m a chronic insomniac, and focusing my mind and body on BODs has been helpful in getting to sleep.”
Thanks to two Ski for Light skiers, featured (Judy Dixon and Dave Van Der Molen), who helped me publish Just Breath Out in braille and audio formats.