Do you care about your breath? Probably not so much. Can you describe your breathing habits? Maybe you can if you are a yoga practitioner as I am. How does your breath contribute to your overall health (body, mind, and soul) and your spiritual development? Most people don’t know a lot about that. So did I.
After one week of working consciously with my breath, many things have changed
I feel lighter, better, happier, more peaceful, and much more aware and conscious, and also more liberated and more connected to the universal life force that flows through all living beings. I feel like being in another state. And yes, also my heart opened up even more. I’m observing what’s going on around me rather than building an immediate opinion or taking immediate action on something. Of course, I still take a lot of actions, but the way I do has changed. It’s much more conscious, more focused on being aligned with my soul purpose rather than reacting to operational needs only. You could also say, I’m listening much better to my inner voice, which is my soul’s voice, as I have built a deeper connection to my soul. And on a physical level, my breathing capacity and my ability to leverage the value of proper breathing has increased tremendously.
Why are we so disconnected from our breath?
The human body can survive many hours without food or water, but only a few seconds without breathing. Isn’t it interesting that this most important life force, our breath, is so underestimated, in all aspects of our lives? It’s strange enough that children don’t learn in school how to plant a garden to grow their food. Even worse, they also don’t learn how to use their breath correctly. And it’s the same in medicine. Did you ever meet a doctor who had sent you to a breathwork practitioner to improve your healing process, especially when it was about chronical diseases? Probably not. And that’s a shame.
It wasn’t always like this. In many languages, the word for spirit and breath is the same which underlines the meaning of the breath: the movement of spirit in matter. In many cultures, the process of breathing was always considered inseparable from health, consciousness and spirit. Also here, you can see the holistic understanding of health that seems to be lost in so many Western cultures. Here and there, it’s coming back, and more holistic approaches to physical and mental health are growing everywhere. Luckily this trend is increasing.
Babies know how to breathe, but most adults lost this ability along the way
If you have the chance, look at a baby and how it’s breathing. Babies take deep round belly breaths; they breathe deeply into the abdomen, and they take deep slow out breaths. Their whole body seems to breathe. But most adults’ breath is restricted. They breathe high in the chest, where little blood flows through the lungs (less than 1/10 of a liter blood a minute). But in the bottom of the lungs over a liter of blood flows through the lungs every minute picking up oxygen to keep body, mind and spirit healthy. To get to this level of oxygen that nourishes our bodies, we have to breathe deeply using the abdomen, like babies.
Breathing deeply (diaphragmatic) leads immediately to a more centered state of being. And as a side effect: you cannot remain angry or upset if you focus on breathing this way: slowly and deeply. So whatever happens to you that has the potential to upset you: focus on your breath and calm down before taking any further action. It always helps.
Regaining the ability to breathe properly equals regaining the ability to a deeper connection
There are lots and lots of breathing techniques to be studied and practiced. Here is an example to put things into practice:
Lay down on your bed or a comfortable mat, such as a yoga mat, or a blanket. Inhale deeply and count slowly from 1 to 4; focus on a deep breath that fills your entire lungs, especially the lower lungs. Keep the breath for a moment. And then exhale slowly and fully, counting from 1 to 8. Repeat that for a few times. Then, repeat and focus while you inhale (round-belly breaths) on arching the small of your back. While you exhale, flatten your back. If you put your hands on your sides, you can feel what is happening in your body.
Breathing in water is an experience that can be described but only if experienced, you will really understand the incredible effect in you. Breathing in water is highly effective when it comes to clearing blockages, setting intentions, or gaining a deeper connection to the universal life force that flows through the bodies of all living beings. And this life force connects us with all elements and with all beings.
Let me give you an impression how that works. You are equipped with your swimming costume, a snorkel, and a nose plug made for swimming, or what worked better for me: goggles. Two persons assist you while breathing in the water: one is responsible for making sure that your snorkel remains in the air; and the other person holds you while you are breathing, lying horizontally in the water. And then, breathing under water begins. Whatever emotion it is you are dealing with, the water intensifies the emotion. Whatever the patterns or blockages are you want to release, the water can help you even deeper and faster to transform this energy you want to get rid of into what you want to manifest. Examples are, for instance, getting rid of a rejection pattern, or fear patterns, or variations of “not being good enough” patterns. The water will help you to transform those energies. Even if you need a few sessions combined with other breathing techniques, it’s absolutely worth the time: first to clear the blockages and then to reinforce the energy you want to step into such as love versus anger or hatred, collaboration versus competition, peace versus fear.
The incredible energy of water can also trigger emotions and patterns within you, just because the person you are supporting, is dealing with those emotions right now. I experienced this feeling. All of a sudden, a rejection pattern I thought I had mastered already, came up again and said hello again. As I learned later, the person I was supporting in the water at this very moment was dealing with the same pattern. So, she could release her pattern in this session, and I did the same when it was my turn to breathe while she supported me.
Water is gentle and powerful at the same time. Water’s ability to transmit energies must not be underestimated. The advantage is with us: we can faster transform whatever comes up in the water into whatever we are looking for. Based on the gentle character of water, whatever we will manifest in the water and whatever we feel in the water is in line with our soul’s purpose.
More than air, water guides as to the connection we may miss from time to time: the connection to the universal life force that’s flowing through all living beings. Some call it the essence, others the divine, others eternity, others infinite… you name it.
The name doesn’t matter. What matters, is that you can make this connection.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
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