What if I told you that the secret of life itself was hiding right under your nose? Literally. The breath is the force that ties you to this life… it is life itself. It is with you from the day you are born until the day you die. The breath is the felt sense of being embodied; here and now, in the present moment. It is your Spirit. In Latin, Spirit means breath.
Most, if not all, spiritual, mystical, yogic, and martial art traditions all begin with some sort of focus on the breath as a foundational practice of meditation. Ancient yogis used breathwork, or meditation techniques of working with the breath to unlock the Life-Force energy within. They also learned to stop the breath completely – Breath is the cord that ties the Soul to the flesh, and when the breath ceases, the cord is released… the Soul is liberated beyond the body. You are “dead” in a state of suspended animation, but you are alive in “Spirit,” which is the goal of eastern philosophies.
“Still others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath into the incoming breath, while some offer the incoming breath into the outgoing breath. All these knowers of sacrifice are cleansed of their impurities as a result of such performances.”-Bhagavad Gita
Breathing is the only physiological function that is both involuntary and voluntary. You can consciously control your breath, or ignore it and let your body breathe on its own. When you let go of control, you surrender your breathing to your subconscious, “autopilot” mind. This primitive “autopilot,” runs the unconscious programming of your reptilian brain – rhythms and cycles of the bodily systems, such as breathing (respiratory system), blood flow (circulatory system), digestion, hormonal systems, etc. which your body keeps in homeostasis for survival. This unconscious mind, where thoughts, feelings, and emotions can be trapped or stored due to past traumatic experience, can disrupt our breath, energy flow, and bodily rhythms – resulting in dis-ease and poor health. These “samskaras” or negative karmic habits/tendancies are the background “programs” that influence our daily life experiences, choices, and behaviors.
With the act of conscious breathing, we can use our conscious care and attention to regulate the rhythm of the breath, which will then have a positive influence on the rest of our bodily systems, resulting in healthy and harmonious energy flow. Consciously focusing on the breath stimulates the cerebral cortex, the largest part of the cerebrum in the mammalian brain, which plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, cognition, awareness, thought, language, etc. When we consciously take hold of the breath and focus our mind with a positive intention, we can stimulate the growth of new brain cells, create new neural pathways or positive karmic habits/tendancies which run programs of health, wealth, success, and happiness. This is true Alchemy.
The Breath is the force that is always with you