Conscious Breathing

It is the first and last action we take in life.  It is the climax of birth and the denouement of death.  Life begins and ends with our intake of prana, chi, ki, energy, or air.

At birth the anticipated cry brings excitement as the newborn takes in their first breath indicating life and energy.  At death, the last breath brings the realization that the soul has departed and the spirit travels to a different sphere.

Some believe that the soul enters with the first breath of life and departs with the last.  Whatever the belief, it is the first process checked to indicate if a human is alive or with life.

Breathing is so much more than the drawing in and expelling of oxygen to and from the lungs. The air we breathe is not only oxygen, it is filled with the most subtle of energies.

At the base of all language, singing and voice is the breath.  The ancients and all mystical teachings speak to the healing and spiritual benefits of conscious breathing.  It is the spirit of life, in Latin, the animus, without breath there is no passion, mind, courage, energy, or life.

Those of us who have been held under water too long, gone through a bout of asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, or any respiratory illness know all to well the significance and relief of a deep, full breath.

The definition and synonym of breath includes awakening, inspiration, existence, respite, break, moment, pause, breather, hint, suggestion, whisper… all denoting energy, peace, creativity, a blanketing of relaxation, a movement into nurturing the mind, body and spirit.

Breath work attunes the body with the intake and outtake of air.  There is a correct process to proper breathing.  Conscious breathing is a conduit to healing, stress relief, and connection with the Divine.  It is the most primal, yet highest function of our physiology.

Breathing is right under our nose, literally and figuratively speaking.  It is the simplest of activity and in that simplicity easily overlooked.  In order to receive the plethora of benefits afforded by our respiratory system an awareness must be established.

There are times that may be set aside to focus on breathing.  While washing dishes or cooking, driving in traffic, working at the computer, watching TV or reading.  Pay attention that the belly is moving out with inhalation and in with exhalation.

This may be established by creating a relaxed space, stilling the mind, in order to observe the breath.  In a reclining position place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.  If your chest is rising and falling instead of your belly, this is shallow breathing and incorrect.

The observation of rhythmic breathing is a meditative state and will center your being.

Better breathing can change the way you feel vice versa how you feel can change the way you breathe.

Harat Inayat Khan stated, “The soul is the divine breath.  It purifies, revivifies, and heals the instrument through which it functions.”

There is such a need today, at this critical crossroad, to possess tools that enable us to calm our spirits, overcome fear, doubt and the anxiety it brings.  Changing our breathing process changes the way we feel.

Just as Glinda, the good witch of Oz told Dorothy that she always possessed everything  needed to go home, we are endowed with the great power of breath, which connects us with the Vital Life Force, with our God.

In Genesis it is written, “God took the dust of the earth and formed the body of man, and breathed into the nostrils of man the Breath of Life, and man became a living soul.”

Breath is life. Use it to attain peace, relief from stress, relaxation, entry into meditation, oxygenation of every cell, and connecting with the sacred energy called life, lovingly breathed into us by the Spirit of Life, God’s presence.

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