Checking in on your breath is widely a foundational step in achieving calm and insight through meditation. As such, let’s briefly survey how the breath is of benefit in the mind-body-soul paradigm.
Physically, breathing cleanses the body. The process we’ve defined as Respiration transports oxygen throughout the body to provide new life to us and rid our cells of waste. Also, confident breathing can positively alter our posture by focusing our attention on our breathing pipes to create an internal foundation of alignment.
Mentally, when we consciously take control of our breath, we get an immediate insight into our current state of mind. The depth and rate of the breath can clue us into our moods. We can utilize this relationship to insist upon a calm and clear mood with nicely deep, slow, and enjoyed breaths.
3. Spiritually or Philosophically
Spiritually or Philosophically, the breath provides a most evident awareness that we are animated beings of Nature. Sitting with the idea that not only can we do the breathing, but that something can breathe us is a delightful starting point for connecting with the mysteries of this life.
On a meditation retreat one time, a student asked the teacher, “Why do we focus on breathing so much in meditation?” The teacher replied, “Because the breath is always with us.” He went on to explain that all our totems, practicums, and cognitions can fall prey to dissolution, but through the entirety of our life, we will always be breathing, thus making awareness of breath an efficient tool for achieving physical, mental, and spiritual health.