You may not think much about breathing... but every day you take approximately 20,000 breaths!
Physiologically, the importance of the breath is undeniable.
With each precious inhale, our respiratory system provides essential oxygen to our body's cells. These cells, in turn, convert the glucose from the food we eat into energy, fueling every essential system working in our body.
As a result, if you're not getting enough oxygen, your body may feel perpetually sluggish. Plus, for our brains to function at their sharpest, they too require a steady and plentiful supply of oxygen.
We know the critical role that our breath plays in our physical existence... But does the breath also hold such an integral standing for us on a spiritual level?
Here, we discover the profound ways our life-giving, sustaining and energizing breaths also impact the vitality of our soul and fuel our spiritual energy:
the breath of life
All around the world, the word “breath” carries significant and potent meaning.
In Sanskrit, the word "breath" translates as "prana"- Meaning universal energy, or life force.
In Greek and Hebrew languages, the term used for breath means spirit. Some even say that our soul does not fully enter our body until our first vital breath.
Conscious breathing is far more than the exchange of oxygen and carbon.
When focused, it becomes a way of sparking our spiritual essence. When combined with other practices like meditation or visualization, it is a route for traveling between the realms, and reconnecting with Masters, Teachers, Angels, and the Divine.
what sort of breaths are you taking?
Your regular daily breaths are not something you have to focus on: They are automatic, unconsciously driven, and operate involuntarily; just like a reflex.
These Autonomic breaths are programmed into our DNA as a constant mechanism, to keep us going even when our thoughts are elsewhere. While they serve an important function, they still leave a lot on the table when it comes to harnessing the power of the breath we can achieve when we focus our attention on the depth and cadence of their rhythm.
In meditation and yoga, the focus is turned heavily toward the breaths we take, thus illuminating the magnitude their power holds.
Suddenly, our autonomic breaths become deeper, more measured... And they can be manipulated to reveal health benefits that eclipse the basic sustenance we achieve through our usual, shallow breaths.
This focusing on the breath is called "Conscious Breathing" . At various stages of activities such as yoga or meditation, people take mindful breaths, and feel the life force flowing through them and to them.
So, what kind of advantages does conscious breathing offer to you on a spiritual and physical level? Quite a few, it turns out...
conscious breathing as an exercise for physical wellness
As we know, the more we exercise, the healthier our bodies become. But did you know that conscious breathing offers similar health benefits too?
By putting aside a little time each day for conscious breathing, you can reduce stress, decrease depression, and begin re-programming your body and mind.
Studies have shown that slow, purposeful breathing creates a unique brain wave that actually mirrors relaxation. Our autonomic system responds to this in very positive ways, even if you are not immediately aware of the change.
Conscious breathing can help address many of the reciprocal problems that arise alongside illnesses, too.
When your body is under the weather, your immune response can slow down the other processes in your body while it focuses all of its energy into the healing process. This not only makes you feel exhausted, but in turn it can throw your heart's rhythm off balance, deter healthy blood circulation, and cause indigestion. Our body's natural response to sickness can be wholly exhausting; but you can help your immune system along by regularly taking some deep, steady breaths to supercharge your system with a fresh flow of oxygen.
Even if you are in good health, the physical benefits of conscious breathing are prominent.
meditative, conscious breathing for the soul
In our chaotic society, remaining present and “in the moment” isn't easy.
There are so many distractions, so many responsibilities, so many things to think about, always. Your brain cannot process it all at once.
When you stop and consciously breathe, you give your mind a moment for integration.
Have you ever noticed yourself wearing your shoulders like earrings? Take a moment to pause right now and do a body check.
Physical positioning speaks volumes about how you feel in body, mind, and spirit.
Breath begins your process of transformation.
Your shoulders move down, all your whirling thoughts calm a bit, and you regain mastery over the moment.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, your brain integrates some of what you've experienced up to that moment in the day.
Try conscious breathing & watch your soul soar
Have you ever tried Conscious Breathing? Let's give it a go!
- First, find a comfortable place to sit and begin the practice.
- Gently move your body a little, loosening up your muscles.
- Settle into stillness and close your eyes.
- Now begin by taking a slow, easy breath in through your nose.
- Inhale the air deeply, visualizing its life force moving into your belly.
- Experiment with a rhythm that works for you on the exhale.
How do you feel now? What changes are immediately noticeable in the way your body feels and your personal focus?
With time and practice, those subtle changes become more dramatic.
becoming your breath
When you add conscious breathing into your routine, you can learn a lot about yourself.
You no longer define your limitations with the sentiment that you are "just out of breath”... Now, your soul and your physical form are FILLED with breath in all the best ways.
Mindful breathing is an ally that can take you to a deeper level of awareness, while reconnecting the triad of mind-body-spirit so they work harmoniously together.
Revitalizing our souls with expansive breath,