Updated: Dec 21, 2020
During my weekly distance circles, two energies have been tenaciously present from week to week recently.
The first is how interwoven and interconnected we all are. And how we carry with us, at a cellular level, everything there ever was or ever will be. More on that soon.
Today I want to focus on the second thing: the significance of breath.
Recently, during a group reiki treatment, I saw several images of people in what looked to be a deep sleep brought to life through breath. It felt like I was witnessing the secret to how spirit manifests into the physical plane. It was breath.
The sacred nature of breath is common among many spiritual traditions.
The rune Ansuz embodies this. It represents Odin’s gift to the first humans, the breath of life. The ability to communicate is inherent in breath; more than that, Ansuz is used to help one in communing with one’s ancestors, as well as the divine.
In Greek, the word πνεῦμα (pneuma) can mean breath, but it can also mean life or spirit. More broadly, πνεῦμα is air in motion, or wind, and seen as the element from which all other things become manifest. Ancient Greek philosopher, Anaximenes of Miletus, speaks to the essence of breath, “Just as our soul, being air holds us together, so do breath and air encompass the whole world.”
Native American traditions hold the breath sacred and note that it is through our living breath that we stay connected with our ancestors, passing on their ancient truths. And in Hawaii, it is believed that we grow our mana through breath, deepening our connection to all things in the universe (the collective), living and non-living.
Anyone familiar with breathwork, whether through mindfulness and meditation, yoga, or one of the many shamanistic practices centred around breath, will testify to the powerful way that breathwork can trigger inspiration and ecstatic mental states.
A daily practice of focusing on breath can be a gentle and powerful way to process emotions and boost immunity.
Start simply, pause a few times a day to take few deep breaths.
Begin by exhaling, release and empty your mind and body of everything you do not need. Inhale, call in what you need, collect any wandering parts of yourself back into your body. Hold for a few seconds; let your body absorb all you’ve breathed in. Integrate. Repeat.