It begins with an inhale.
A marriage between body and breath. The very force of life contingent on the breath entering and departing again from the lungs. There is no separation. Our being and our breath support one other in perfect harmony. This is living. The whole of us, indivisible from the breath. One.
And so we come to observe and explore the breath, acknowledged in so many disciplines and holistic schools of conscious living as our very foundation. We are invited to discover the many ways our breath connects us, grounds us, supports us. It is a study of presence, a beautiful journey into the center of self.
When we hold the breath in our minds eye, deeply attached to it with our awareness, bound in union with the ebb and flow of its parting and coming, there we find a quiet stillness. Our complete being, inseparable from breath and present moment and conscious connected living. With practiced awareness, breath becomes a pillar offering its steadfast presence to our every single moment. It is perhaps the simplest and most profound tenet of mindful living.
Prana is the name in Sanskrit for the breath, for energy, union, the force of our life. Within the philosophy of yoga, Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath. Harnessing the rhythm of the inhale and exhale, altering or emphasizing the length, fullness, and hold of each. Manipulation of breath in this way has powerful effects on the physical body and in turn, the emotional and energetic response of our being. We take for granted the wisdom of someone’s advice to ‘take a deep breath’ when we are anxious, angry or injured. The simple act of inviting a large sip of air into the lungs instantly reaches the nervous system and our body’s response is to relax. The breath is used in many therapeutic healing modalities and most forms of meditation. Breathing techniques have the power to bring us to alternate states of consciousness, alleviate anxiety and assist in curing illness. The magic being that while breath work is profoundly beneficial it is also readily available, right there, immediately in our present moment to honor with our awareness and begin to expand.
To study the breath is to find our connection with the world around us. Beyond the oneness of body and breath, is the oneness of each creature and plant and living thing, evolving, dissolving and returning to the earth, which shares this very same breath. It is oneness in totality. The impossibility of separation. The you and the me and the everything and everyone in this beautiful chaos together, breathing of and partaking in the same complex organism. A truly magnificent exchange, to give and receive with an entire world of people and places and creatures and planet.
And so we come to know the breath. Therein lies the secret, the truth, the magic. That we are connected to the force of life that breathes our body, that comes and goes and returns again. Participating in a union so profound that it includes every part of this planet. Breathing the very same breath. We are one. Indivisible. Breath and body. Being.