I am reminded today that I’ve written an article about breathing every single month since June of 1976. And this month—although I’m a bit late getting it out—is no exception. Welcome to my October 2020 Breath and Breathing Report.
Breathwork is truly a gift. It’s a genuine blessing to the world, and this month I am celebrating that fact! People everywhere are getting turned on to the breath big time! Medical scientists, sport psychologists and corporate executives are finally waking up and speaking up about the real and practical benefits… And it’s about time!
As a small boy I was awakened to the spiritual power and potential of breathwork. And just before entering the military, I was re-awakened to the miraculous nature of breathing and I became a missionary for the breath. At the time, I felt like a voice crying out in the dessert!
When I talked about breathing, people would look at me as if I was from another planet. They would roll their eyes and say, “breathing shmeathing. Meditation shmeditation. Get a real job!” Back then, there was little to no medical or scientific evidence to support the fact that by changing how we breathe we can change how we think, feel, behave and perform.
But I wasn’t about to let a world full of skeptics and cynics stop me from practicing and preaching on every stage, platform, soapbox or rooftop I could find. I could not deny my own experience. And I could not ignore the fact that everyone who practiced breathwork showed unarguable physical, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual benefits.
Fast forward to today. We have the internet, with countless breathing summits, conferences and online breathwork sessions and trainings. We have tens of thousands of breathing gurus, instructors, practitioners, adherents and proponents. Everyday another book on breathing is written, another breathing app appears, and countless articles and studies are published.
Breathwork has become the key to performing in the zone, as it’s the quickest and most effective way to enter the flow state. No wonder it has become the biggest trend ever in the health, sports and fitness world.
Conscious breathing causes us to feel very awake and very alive, very connected, very focused and very centered. Ask any elite athlete and they will tell you that nothing beats the peak experience of being ‘in the flow’ and performing ‘in the zone’. The rush of those high octane, record-breaking moments is extremely appealing—and even addictive.
The flow state and being in the zone is always connected to an activity or competition of some kind. It’s always understood in terms of the role it plays in overcoming physical or psychological barriers, breaking world records, demonstrating amazing abilities, or accomplishing superhuman (egoic) feats.
And so, this month I’d like to focus on something to be found beyond all the performance benefits of being in the flow. And that is in the potential it has for triggering and transcendence, self-realization, enlightenment, and a state of “Pure Being.”
This month, I suggest that you explore the flow state and being in the zone in a way that is not connected to performing, whether as an expert marksman, elite martial artist, marathoner, gladiator, gold medalist, or sex god. I suggest instead that you practice breathwork as a way of simply being in the flow, or simply being in the zone.
I often invite my clients and students to: “lay down, relax, and breathe as if you are running full speed up a hill.” When you’re actually running up a hill, you don’t have to make yourself breathe. Your body automatically turns your breathing up to meet the extra energy demand.
Practice relaxing completely and keep relaxing more and more with every breath. Breathe in a powerful, passionate and enthusiastic way—but not with effort or force. Since there is no muscular effort, activity, or metabolic demand, your body will try to make you stop the extra breathing. But if you can override this normal chemical/biological reaction, and keep breathing in spite of it, then something remarkable can begin to happen in you.
If you keep generating energy with the breath even though your body doesn’t need it, that energy has to go somewhere, it has to do something. And it does: it triggers profound emotional healing and psychological growth, spiritual transformation and evolution.
Because the body doesn’t need the energy for physical work, it is available to open our hearts and to open subtle doors of perception. It burns away karma and trauma and our negative and limiting thoughts and beliefs. It opens our heart and expands our consciousness!
Try it. Lie down and deliberately relax every muscle and every joint in your body. Then begin to ‘ramp up’ the breathing as if you are running full speed up a hill. Maintain your meditative awareness and don’t “do” anything except breathe and relax and feel the energy.
Spend time just being in this energy, simply enjoying the electricity, the vibrations, the tingling, the delightful expansive sparkling flowing feelings of aliveness. See how this awakens a deeper connection to yourself and to others. See how it deepens your connection to life, nature, your Source, and to your sacred mission and purpose in life.
Use your breath to awaken a tsunami of life force energy. And then simply relax into it. Bathe in it. Melt into it. Merge with it. Ride it. Don’t think. Don’t act. Don’t do… Just be. No goal. No seeking. No trying. No doing… Just the experience of Pure Ecstatic Being.
This month I invite you to Breathe in the Flow!
Good luck in your practice, and many blessings on your path!