All I asked her to do was breathe. She was in the emergency room with a neck injury, anxious and afraid – breathing rapidly. I had been practicing 6-2-7 breathing and had the idea to share it with her. “Count to 6 silently as you breathe in with me. Hold it for a count of 2. And let it out for a count of 7.” 3 of these deep breaths is all it took for this elderly woman to begin to calm and soothe and recalibrate. And her daughter who was sitting in the chair next to her also said she felt better as a result
Simple things can be so powerful. The benefits of deep breathing have been documented for:
- Reduced anxiety and depression;
- lower/stabilized blood pressure;
- increased energy levels;
- muscle relaxation; and
- decreased feelings of stress and overwhelm.
Whether we’re talking about sports psychologists, Buddhist meditation teachers or cognitive therapists – all of them come back to this fact again and again and again – about the importance of the breath and breathing.
In the New Testament the word for spirit and breath are the same. In the First Testament it’s “Ruah” and in the New Testament its – “Pneuma.” Could it be that by just breathing with awareness, we remember our connection with Spirit?
In fact, in the Jewish tradition, the word for God – “Yahweh” may mean something more than we’ve imagined.
A Jewish Rabbi and Scholar writes that:
“The letters for Yahweh, in Hebrew, are pronounced ‘Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey’ which is where we get the pronunciation ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Yahveh. There are no vowels in the name YHVH and the ancient Jews did not even say the name because they considered it too holy. In fact, the ancient rabbis believed these letters were essentially, kind of breathing sounds and that ultimately the name is simply unpronounceable because the letters together are essentially the sound of breathing.”
“Could the name of God itself simply be the sound of breathing?!”
What a beautiful invitation to breathe, not just to reduce tension, anxiety or stress, but to mediate and have a simple way to remain in the awareness of our connection to God throughout the day AND to stay in calm, peace and ease as well.
So take time to breathe well today – for the sake of your body, mind, spirit, soul and connection with God.
Just breathing, in and of itself, is a powerful meditation and prayer.
ANOTHER IDEA – for Prayer/Meditation/Breathing:
Inhale, and God approaches you.
Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.
Exhale, and you approach God.
Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.