It’s kind of funny that over time modern humans have created retreats for something as natural as breathing. But come to think of it, even a newborn baby isn’t left to his/her own devices for its first breath. Think of your own breathing right now.
How does your breath behave this moment?
How does it move in your body? Is it regular and deep? Do you sometimes hold it throughout the day? Do you notice how you start changing it when you put your attention to it?
The first thing you might realise, is that you’re often not even that aware of your breath or breathing patterns. It has a life of its own. But that doesn’t mean it is fully functioning and serving your body, mind and mood in an optimum way. This is because there are many moments during growing up when our breath is interfered with, mainly through stress and anxiety. Without instruction on how to wisely deal with those traumatic instances, we create unconscious coping mechanisms, often involving the way we breathe. We might start breathing more shallowly or hold our breath at regular intervals without noticing.
Are you aware of your breath or breathing patterns?
When you start becoming more aware of the way you might be breathing throughout the day, you’ll quickly realise it might be a good idea to learn a thing or two about it. And to take some time out to focus on your breathing patterns and learn some good techniques for optimum oxygenation. Awareness, exercises, habit release are a powerful mix to improve how you feel and how your body functions. And when the body functions as it should, all kind of ailments seem to magically disappear. Cleared by oxygen, relaxation and understanding.
Here’s a great account of a student’s practise with deep breathing.
You’re always carrying your breath with you
As a bonus, your breath becomes more of an anchor during day-to-day stresses and upheavals we all experience. You’re always carrying your breath with you. In the words of Yanchiji, living spiritual master and renunciate founder of the Tushita Hermitage and Tushita Mystery School,
“Breathing is our most vital bodily intimacy with Life. We do not have to make it up. No ego required. Only the ego thinks it makes something, that it creates something. Music and poetry and inspiration and wisdom and intelligence and beauty and energy are already in Life; we do not make those “things” but we can express them, we can transmit them.”
Find out more about the IAM Breathing Method retreats at the Tushita Mystery School.
Who wrote this piece? Tushita Mystery School blogs are written by a number of Students at the Tushita Hermitage. Their anonymity supports their self-forgetting practice.