Have you ever considered your breath as a powerful ally for your healing and overall well being?
We know at a physical level that we need breath to keep us alive. With each inhalation, we bring in life-sustaining oxygen and with each exhalation we release carbon dioxide, a substance that can be toxic if the levels are too high. Our bodies have an incredible ability to regulate the breath so that we are in a state of homeostasis.
But, when we go more deeply, we can experience ways in which the breath supports us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as well.
At an emotional level, we can consciously use the breath to facilitate the flow of our emotions. If we stuff emotions, the tension builds and can lead to any number of stress-related illnesses. Or, we can think of difficult emotions as an ocean wave, inviting sadness, grief, or anger to build on the inhale and then release on the exhale. We can remain in the flow of our challenges and, through the breath, ultimately find a place of balance, relief, peace.
Mentally, the repetitive worries that cycle through our minds like a hamster on a wheel can exacerbate anxiety and poor sleep. When we bring awareness to those thoughts and acknowledge them on the inhale, we are then able to have the presence of mind to release the thoughts with each exhale, bringing us to a place of calmness and clarity.
Spiritually, the breath can connect us with an expanded awareness of who we are and help us tap into an infinite source of support. With each inhale, or in-spiration, we literally bring in Spirit. With each exhale, we can feel the beautiful healing energy of Spirit wash over us and through us with light and love.
So, imagine that you have just come to see me for a Healing Touch or shamanic healing session. I always begin with a few minutes of breathwork to bring focus to our intentions for healing. I invite the breath to be a vehicle for healing energy. As I guide you through your breathing, I see your muscles unwind and relax, your face softens, your breath become deep and even. We enter into a beautiful flow that releases what no longer serves with each exhale and brings in new supportive patterns with each inhale. I then use a variety of methods to clear energetic blockages and infuse your system with brilliant new energy. By the end of the session, you feel centered, grounded, light, uplifted, vibrant, clear, and inspired.
Remember, the breath is available at any moment 24/7. You can choose to commit to a daily meditation practice and sit for a few minutes working with the breath. In fact, I highly recommend it! It’s a small investment in yourself that reaps great benefits.
Here’s one of my favorite breath meditations that you can follow on your own. I didn’t learn it in a class or out of a book. It simply came to me as I was sitting in my backyard next to a magnificent Pine. Try it now as you slowly read these words.
- Begin by taking a moment to bring your attention to your heart center. Breathe in and breathe out a few times, deeply, slowly, evenly.
- Feel your feet firmly connected to the Earth, and set an intention for your health. Be as specific as possible.
- Continue to focus on your breath as you visualize or experience being surrounded by beautiful plants and trees.
- Each time you breathe in, fill your lungs with the oxygen that the plants provide as a by-product of photosynthesis, as if you are receiving an incredible gift, the gift of life. Receive it with deep gratitude.
- Each time you breathe out, release the carbon dioxide that your body produces, as if you are offering a gift, a blessing, to all the plants. Know that they receive it with gratitude, for without carbon dioxide they wouldn’t be able to make food through photosynthesis.
- Continue for a few minutes, receiving the gift of oxygen with each inhalation and offering the gift of carbon dioxide with each exhalation. Notice what happens in your body, heart, mind, and spirit. Feel yourself sitting in the stillness, an intricate part of the vast web of life, a place of perfect peace, balance, harmony.
- As your meditation comes to a close, place your hands over your heart, slowly open your eyes, smile, and say thank you.
You can also develop a habit of working with your breath any time, while doing the dishes, sitting in your car at a red light, anticipating a challenging situation, or drifting off to sleep. Any moment is the perfect moment to consciously bring your awareness to your breath, inviting it to help you release and let go, which creates space to bring in something new.
Breath has been available to you from the moment you were born and will be with you until the moment of transition out of this lifetime. I encourage you to support your health, well being, and inner peace by taking some time today, and every day, to sit quietly, give gratitude for Air, tune in to your breath, and use it as a powerful ally for healing.