Last week, I had a dream about two teachers that I have been studying with. I awoke and savored the dream. Moments later I jumped out of bed to write the following post. The image is my vision of the breath, something I drew to illustrate how I see the breath. It does make me wish I was a better artist.
When it comes to the breath, we behave as conquerors. We TAKE the inhale by force, as though it is ours by right and by might. We reluctantly relinquish the exhale, either slouching in the sadness of letting go or pushing it out just to grab the next inhale. Each breath is a battle, but are we truly winning? In the West, breathing has become a physical act. We view the breath as an act of oxygenating the body, if we even think about the breath. For many, the body breathes itself and we only notice when it seems as though we cannot breathe.
What if we began to shift our awareness of the breath? In Yoga, the breath is called prana, “life force.” Prana can also be translated as pra- meaning “to bring forth,” –na meaning “the eternal cosmic vibration” (courtesy of Rama Jyoti Vernon). When viewed this way, the breathing becomes a sacred act of oxygenating the spirit, the soul. Each breath is an infusion of life.
You are the vessel opening to receive the gift of the inhale, the breath of life. Allow the body to open to its fullest. Do nothing to disturb the precious flow. Be still and soft in the receiving as though this is the only gift you have ever received. Be present for the gift that you were built to receive. Savor the slow and precious movement of breath as it fills you. Allow the exhale to be the gift that you are offering to the world, to the universe, to god, to life itself. The spine lengthens in joy at this sweet present. Your heart sings at this regal presentation of the breath.
Realize that each moment, each breath is a gift; that we are here on the wings of grace.