The Power of Breath
"If you can do something with the breath, you will attain the source of life. If you can do something with the breath, you can transcend time and place. If you can do something with the breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it" - The Book of Secrets, Osho.
Breathing is hugely powerful, in ways that most people never come to appreciate. We can live for a few weeks without food, a few days without water but only minutes without breathing. We breathe around 20,000 times per day without thinking about it, yet breathing is the only system of the body that is automatic and can also be consciously controlled. There are aspects of the way you breathe that you may never have observed or explored, and these aspects are like doorways that can lead to new and profound abilities. By learning how to use your breath, you can change the way you feel, help to heal yourself and even transform your life.
There are many different variations on how we breathe: - through the nose or the mouth; how hard, fast, regular or deeply we breathe; what muscles we use; whether we hold the breath; where the breath flows in our body etc. Each aspect of breathing is associated with a physiological, emotional or mental state. Our breathing is affected by how we are feeling, yet at the same time we can consciously induce a feeling by using our breath. In this way we can consider that there is a communication between the mind and the body that takes place through the breath. Indeed, the power of the breath is recognised in our language: - as we breathe in we are inspired; we breathe out what is expired; with our breath we aspire.
There is substantial scientific understanding of the function and effects of the breath in terms of biomechanics, biochemistry and psychophysiology (the mind-body connection), and how the breath impacts the state of our nervous system. You may be surprised to know that at least 80% of the information carried by the nervous system goes from the body to the brain, so somatic (body-centred) approaches can be much more powerful and accessible for many people compared to talking therapies.
The process can be summarised by the ACT of breathing: -
1. AWARENESS - the starting point of learning any language is to listen and observe.
2. CONSCIOUSNESS - we make a choice to explore how to control of our breathing.
3. TRANSFORMATION - with guidance and practice, we find the ways to use breathing to become more flexible, to shift any barriers, to help heal ourselves and to help make changes in lifestyle.