A Case for Conscious Breathing

“All healing originally resides in the human breathing system. “
—Rudolf Steiner

Breath is life and
life is breath.
It is known that viruses and microbes love and thrive on a low oxygen environment. So if we breathe more consciously and raise our oxygen levels they simply can’t survive. It is also noted that during fearful and stressful periods we tend to hold and restrain our breath.

 “Fear is excitement, without the breath.”
—Fritz Perls, M.D.

So when we feel fatigue or are anxious the first thing we should do is remember to breath—it couldn’t hurt and it might just help.

“Ninty percent of metabolic oxygen comes from breathing.
Ten percent comes from food.”
—Gabriel Cousens, M.D.

There is an interesting reference to breathing in the Hawaiian word “ohana” which in a modern sense means family, but when tracing it back to its origin means, “people who breath together.” At the turn of the century when missionaries (who they looked at as strangers) landed on the islands, the Hawaiian natives called them, “haoles” which translated to, “people without breath.”

“Emotional and physical states can be altered by changing
the breathing pattern.”
—Wilhelm Reich

A wonderful breath meditation was made famous by Stephen Levine. He called it Soft Belly Meditation.

“Watch breath, soften belly, open heart, has become a wake-up call for mindfulness and mercy, which takes people beyond the mind-body of suffering into a deep peace of their healing.”
—Stephen Levine

Soft Belly Meditation
Very simply the meditation works like this: Find a comfortable spot where you can sit and not be disturbed. The first thing you do is to bring your attention to your body. Feel your breath and the sensation of breathing. After a few minutes bring your attention to your belly and feel the breath that is breathing directly into the abdominal region. With each breath begin to soften the belly; soften the hardness which you feel there. Let go of all resistance, fear and holding—a deep holding that is stuck in the belly. Many levels of letting go and softening will occur. When the belly begins to soften then there is room for true healing.

If thoughts arise as you are doing this, let them come, don’t resist them. In Stephen’s own words he tells us to let the thoughts… “float like bubbles in the vast spaciousness of soft belly.”

Another method of breathing comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnam Buddhist monk. In many of his books he asks us to pay attention to our in-breath and out-breath. In a very direct way he tells us that by becoming aware of breathing we begin to feel truly alive. He often leds walking meditations where you walk, breathe and simply be with the movement of the feet and the breath. It may sound simple but just try and do it, try and be completely present with your walking and breathing.

“Let us enjoy our breathing. Breathing in … I feel I am alive. Breathing out
… I smile to life.
To Life… smiling to life.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh

In my many years spent practicing meditation and inquiring into the profound meaning of life I have always found that breath holds the key to understanding this great mystery. While working on a selection of Flower Essence cream formulas I came up with one that helps in this practice and doing yoga. I call it “Meditative Spirit.” It includes some essences from theHimalayasand works with the breath to help focus the mind and embrace the peace which is within us.

If we allow ourselves to breathe deeply and powerfully we can heal ourselves in the most natural way both physically and mentally.

“The peace that passeth all understanding …
do not be anxious about anything.”
—Philippians 4:6-7

While practicing conscious breathing we can also take note of where we constrict ourselves, where we hold and resist during life’s daily ups and downs. Flower Essences can help to open us up and when we are open we stop creating road blocks. We have to learn to be children again and begin to discover what is new in what we so often overlook as ordinary. Then our breath will follow our heart in its natural rhythm, the very song of our soul.

Florique Essence Roll-ons: Mindful … Uplift … Change