Breath is life. The very first and last thing we do in life is take a breath. More and more medical and scientific articles and research reports are suggesting that the origin of most illnesses, both physical and psychological, is a lack of oxygenation in our bodies.
People who work with the breath have always intuited that this was true, and have long experienced the benefits physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually. Enough of that awareness has been shared for those in the scientific and medical fields to become interested. A quick Internet search will provide anyone with reputable academic papers giving evidence of how mindfully breathing in various ways will positively affect well-being.
At the same time, the short-comings of a mindless pursuit of material objects or chemical solutions to health problems have also become evident. Conscious optimal breathing is easy to learn, simple, immediately accessible, completely democratic—and practicing on one's own is FREE.
Breathwork is a deceptively simple, yet profound method of finding balance and wholeness. It’s a way of practically integrating conscious awareness and a sense of spirit into everyday life. Those who have been working with the breath for many decades have realized the significance of what they do, have acquired skills and knowledge, and have recognized the there is in fact a field of breathwork practice and study. They are forming partnerships with researchers, scientists, and the medical field to create a comprehensive understanding of why conscious, healthy breathing is so powerful.
The applications of breathwork, from the first breath at birth throughout the life span—including in education, medicine, relationships, and personal growth—are very potent. In fact, breath may be our most fundamental and powerful medicine and nutrient.
Added to that, air is free. Learning how to monitor your breathing and regulate it is one of the most cost-effective measures you could find. And breathwork has been shown to provide remarkable results with workplace stress and general attitude of employees. Mindful breathing is something that anyone can do in any setting—at our desks, walking, or even in a meeting to remain relaxed, alert, and creative. When employees are not stressed and can remain focused, then the organization benefits.
All breath practices offer some kind of life-enhancement. At one end of the spectrum, breathwork provides simple practices for relaxation and stress reduction. At the other end of the spectrum, awareness of the breath is a timeless spiritual practice.
So, in one breathing session, a person might simply become relaxed and feel rejuvenated. In that same session or in another, people might gain insight and understanding of their everyday situations, or experience an indescribable connection to the creative force of life itself. This experience is transformative and gives them the strength to resolve issues that are holding them back. Whether one achieves a heightened sense of awareness, a more relaxed sensation, or a deeper sense of connection from breathwork practice, in the end, everyone is breathing the same air.
Adapted from an interview with Judy Martin. © Jessica Dibb. Used with permission.