Sensuality of Breathing


Are you breathing just a little and calling it life?”  Mary Oliver

If you try to comprehend air before breathing it, you will die.” Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening

Following this quote by Mark Nepo is a very brief story about a Hindu sage centuries ago.  “One day in the morning of their morning prayers, the sage suddenly rose and ushered his students away from the monastery.  He rushed about them and shooed them like little ducks back into life, proclaiming, “The day is to be experienced, not understood!”

Every activity in life is an act of making divine and sacred love. What could be more sensual than simply breathing?! …and as Mary Oliver questions how fully are you really breathing/living!!

We arise in love with every inhale we take as we receive into our bodies the lover of breath.  Without conscious awareness we open ourselves to receive this gift and then complete the circle as we exhale back out giving to other life forms around 149706_561080740573113_1754882585_nus.  The trees and plants embrace our carbon dioxide and give back to us the oxygen that we crave. Interconnected.

Sensuality is completely enjoying and fully appreciating what the senses give to us in any given moment.  If breath was your lover it would be so much more enjoyable to allow it to be all that it is meant to be so that it could make love to you.  Not a technique or an understanding of breaths anatomy and physiology, but pure unadulterated pleasure and acceptance in feeling the breath move in and out.

You can hear breath moving in and out, but cannot see breath.  I sometimes wonder if we could see breath what it would look like – the pure energy of love itself?  No one knows exactly what causes the heart to beat or how that first air breath is ignited when we are born into this world.  All we know is that at first it feels something foreign to our being having come from a watery world…and then we experience the kiss of breath and are never the same again.

Our bodies undulate – open and then surrender – with each breath we take if we have welcomed the fullness of breath into our being.  Our voice can be heard by others and our songs can tenderly touch the parts of us that are yearning to dance.  This is not something that we try to comprehend.  We are simply and sensuously breathing.

Deeply within our blueprint lies the part of us that accepts simply being breathed…a metaphor for life lived in alignment dolphinswith the creative force that resides within.  One can know this place in any moment….slippery dolphin touch teaching you to embody the movement and sensuality of breath, dark earth and evergreen smells as reminders of where you have come from, wind sounds wrapping themselves around like the finest of silky garments, tastes of air across palate, slithering past the fine hairs that line your nasal passages, lying with another and joining breath as if weaving a fine art piece, lustily laughing a series of exhales which then welcomes the in breath with open arms.

How could you ever go back to taking breath for granted?  It enlivens, paints, sculpts, expands, awakens and enhances your life with every inhale and exhale, cherishing you as no other can.

Will you cherish breath and experience the sensuality of life?  Re-member… innately know how!




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Sweet Chestnuts of Roslin – Breathe With The Ancient Ones


When you are next out in the woods you may come across some ancient ones. You know who they are for it almost feels as if they are telling you the secrets of the ages. As you breathe in the air around them images come to mind of lives long past and creatures still present – circling round, sniffing your presence as if to determine just what kind of being you are.


It is the ancient ones that remind us of who we are in our fullest expression. That ask us to lay down our fears and breathe life into the creative impulse that quickens in us as it has in them for hundreds of years.


Our aging faces and bodies look gladly upon these ancients before us for we recognize the lines, crevices, textures, twists and turns of life well lived – a breathing, pulsing and at times mysterious Source of life that speaks to the expanse of creative potential and interconnection.


Next time you are in the woods remember to share a Breathing Space with the ancients, for they will hold you captive with their tales…… while giving and receiving the breath of life….


Thank you to Breath of Green Air for this magical and beautiful post!   Gaye



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Deep in the old woods of Roslin Valley there live two very ancient tree ents. In the green shaded light of the summer woods you can make out their limbs and faces, which have grown here for over 400 years. In fact they have stood here for so long that time has gathered in a shadowy mist around its branches, pausing time and place. A deep velvet hush hangs over the hollow and everything present holds its breath afraid to wake the dozing giants, descendants of Roman immigrants 2,000 years ago.

If you venture close enough, you can look up into the branches where antlered wooden deer run free through the field of leaves. With their horned heads held high they keep watch over the paths leading to the old tree creatures body. Among the moonlight these deer hide from Odins Wild Hunt, as they have since time began. All…

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Barton Springs, Austin, Texas

Fluidity is our natural state of being.

With life’s “hits” we often become static, fixed and rigid, wrongly thinking that these states will protect us from whatever is “out to get us” in our day to day living.

Instead we can be knocked over quite easily and incur even greater trauma when in these non-fluid states.

The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%. The average adult human body is 50-65% water, averaging around 57-60%. The percentage of water in infants is much higher, typically around 75-78% water, dropping to 65% by one year of age.

To add to that according to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, and even the bones are watery: 31%

We can’t ignore the fact that water makes up more of who we are than other elements and considering that we came from a watery home while inside of our mother it seems curious why we outright deny that we are in fact fluid and liquid in nature.

There is nothing more directly noticeable than the breath when we are not in a fluid state in our bodies, thoughts, emotions and how we express in the world.  Our breath is hung up in the upper most part of our chests, and secondary breathing muscles (in neck, shoulders and upper chest) compete to see who can become the most contracted in their efforts to breathe us.

When we are breathing effortlessly from our primary breathing muscles (diaphragm, intercostals between the ribs, and moving-waterabdomen)- or being breathed as I like to say –  our bodies feel supple, fluid and flexible and our expression in the world comes from a deeply relaxed place of trust and confidence.  Imagine a wave of breath washing through you.  There is no way to be fixed, contracted or rigid in that!

If you really want to feel liquid and fluid I would suggest swimming with dolphins in the wild.  This was a peak life experience I was privileged to have several years ago.  One can’t help but feel the sensuous nature of being free, playful and lovingly liquid as when swimming with these amazing creatures.  For moments in time you feel that you could breathe under water too!  Perhaps we all did at some time in our ancient past!


* Be aware when the breath becomes shallow and you feel tension in your neck, face, upper chest and shoulders. Take a breath break!

* Breathe with your primary breathing muscles: diaphragm, intercostals between the ribs, and abdominal muscles. (by the way holding tight in your abdominal muscles or wearing unforgiving tight clothing constricts the breath unnecessarily)

* Imagine a wave of breath moving through you and washing all of the tension away.

* Smile and laugh often and watch the fluidity come back into your being!

* Dance with abandon and move from all parts of your body.  Celebrate the body you have been given!

* Join with another and breathe together.  Watch as your breath eases and lets go as your rhythm comes into synchronization with theirs.  Surrender is the name of the game.

* Imagine yourself safely in a water environment floating and being completely held and supported.

*  Bring attention to your second chakra (right below the naval) and place your hands there with great love as you consciously breathe for a few minutes.  Watch your abdomen soften with the attention.


*Commune with the Earth and frequent Nature often!

* Go swim with dolphins!

There is a way of breathing
That is a shame and a suffocation.
And there is another kind of breath,
A love breath,
Which opens you infinitely.




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The Breath Pause Between Ubuntu and Namaste

unityUbuntu does indeed feel like a Unity word!  Take a moment to feel it as your mouth creates the sounds that bring the word to life.  It is flowing, connected and literally feels like a way of life.  My body wants to dance with this word. Dancing to the sound of drums – the beat of our hearts – uniting us in every breath moment.  Taking it all in INHALE!

Nelson Mandela states that Ubuntu asks the question:  “Will you do something to engage the community around you to improve?”  As our global community becomes smaller and smaller in the sense of communication and interrelatedness this indeed is the question of our day.

What action can you take today in your own community – within you own being –  that will most certainly affect others beyond your geographical location merely by the respect, human kindness, caring, trust, unselfishness, love, and sharing that you are actively demonstrating?

Meeting each other in Ubuntu we may find that the most embodied response is Namaste.  Two hands at our hearts toNamaste_silk acknowledge all that we are, bowing to all that another is, whether that other be human, animal, plant or a vision that brings us closer together as a global community.

This gesture resonates with Ubuntu on a very deep and profound level.  It recognizes that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all.

It also reminds us of the deep interconnectedness between all life forms.  What is done to another all can feel.  What is said by one can be heard by all.  What one creates sparks creation by others.  What stillness is felt in one becomes the sacred in another.  And it goes on….EXHALE….

The breath pause between Ubuntu and Namaste is called collaboration.  A deep collective determination to co-create and realize a shared goal, vision or significant change in current systems or structures.

Namaste_smWe are at the crossroads in a time when we must take action to shift our consciousness from one of separation, judgement, misdirected power, war and blame to one of connectedness, sharing, co-creation, peace, understanding and love.

Already so many across the planet are breathing in from the place of Ubuntu and breathing out Namaste.  Will you be one of them?  INHALE/Ubuntu….PAUSE IN COLLABORATION….EXHALE/Namaste



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Return To Deep Harmony


My recent offering of a class called Decrease Anxiety, Indulge Inner Peace has been an awakening on many levels.  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older.  That equals 18.9% of the U.S. population and doesn’t even include those under 18.

Shallow constricted breathing is one aspect of the emotional posture of anxiety.  Our entire system turns acidic with this type of breathing, our secondary breathing muscles in the neck, shoulders and upper chest become tight and contracted,  and the stress response is activated over and over again.

Did you know that the average person reaches peak respiratory function and lung capacity in their mid-20’s  As they continue to age they lose between 9%-25% of respiratory capacity for every decade of life.  The findings resulting from a 5,000 person clinical study group observed over a 30 year span showed that the way a person breathes is the primary measure of potential life span. (Framingham study).  This tells me that we can change the decline in respiratory function by breathing more fully as often as possible and potentially decrease anxiety!

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on Earth”  Sanskrit

That full diaphragmatic breath that was so easy when we were infants somehow became distorted and contracted as we learned over the years that is was often not safe to be completely ourselves.  This “shut down” on so many levels is perhaps the core reason why there is so much shallow breathing and anxiety these days.

In addition, the minds default for survival always seems to go to the past and to the future to supposedly protect us from making the same mistakes or creating new ones.  We resist the fact that everything changes.  It is the moment to moment experience of life NOW that somehow gets lost in the fray!

A key to opening back to what Deepak Chopra calls “deep harmony of body, mind and Spirit that was yours at birth” is a full unrestricted breath…one after another.  Is our goal to always breathe in this way?  Well, perhaps intention is a better word here for if we can be aware of our breathing throughout the day, and at least start and end our day with at least 5 minutes of conscious breathing practice, our body will start to remember what it was like to be that open and unrestricted.  Our hearts will celebrate as they are massaged by the diaphragm and open to love, and our minds will once again remind us of the capacity for wholeness and interconnection.

We won’t always be able to breathe this fully, but at least we can have the intention.  It takes practice and a willingness to live the moment.  Here is a mantra that you might want to use in your daily breath practice:

On the inhale silently say to yourself “alive” and on the exhale “now”.  Then rest in the “pause” before the inhale naturally comes back in again.  The moment is a gift of awareness.  This also can be a great “break”  during a very busy day when you realize that you are forgetting to breathe, or in the midst of emotional, mental, or physical stress. 

As Dennis Lewis says in the last of The Ten Secrets of Authentic Breathing, “Remember you are a breathing being, alive right now and here.  Let yourself feel the mystery and the miracle of your breath and your life as often as you can.”




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Every Breath As A Prayer


Often we feel that a prayer comes in the form of something spoken out loud or within, on our knees,  sitting in meditation, joining with others in a group,  read or written – in other words an action we must consciously take.  What if every breath we take is a simple prayer and a means to connect head with heart as proposed above?

What would you do with that practice?  Defining prayer as each breath taken expands the sacredness of what it is to be alive!

If each breath is a prayer then…

We are constantly in prayer

We have an unlimited opportunity to love

Our every breath is a deep connection to something greater than ourselves

Each breath is a prayer of gratitude for the life we have been given

No moment is less or more important than another

We are constantly praying with every other life form that breathes and vibrates

There is no separation between ourselves and the sacredness of life

There is nothing we have to DO to pray or any belief system needed

Prayer is life breathing itself

There is a beginning prayer and an ending prayer within this one life



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Cherish Yourself Within The Breath

“As you breathe in cherish yourself. As you breathe out cherish all beings.”

H.H. The Dalai Lama

As 2013 begins we may take a look at our lives to see and feel where we can be more of our authentic selves, increase our happiness, love more, achieve more, create more…..and it goes on.  It there was one intention for the year, only one mind you, what would that be?

For me I ask to be mindful of my breath.  The full, natural optimal breath that was given to me at birth.  Breathing fully is perhaps the best way to value yourself and your overall health.

Dr. Andrew Weil, father of Integrative Medicine says it this way, “If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.  From my own experience and from working with patients, I have come to believe that proper breathing is the master key to good health.”

Many of us find ourselves breathing from a very shallow place when we even notice our breath.  This shallow breathing is an integral part of what I call the anxiety cycle.  Shallow breathing tells the body to protect and be on guard.  What unseen forces are out there to get me?  …and it takes us into the future or the past, forgetting the precious moment we have right now.

On the other hand a full breath activated via the diaphragm with soft belly and full ribcage expansion tells our body and our 377365_284005775041434_1705234306_npsyche that all is well.  Ahhh….looking forward to the next full breath, the next life moment.  Do you want to live a full, healthy and expanded life?

DID YOU KNOW…The average person reaches peak respiratory function and lung capacity in their mid 20′s? As they continue to age they lose between 9% and 25% of respiratory capacity for every decade of their life! The findings resulting from a 5,200-person clinical study group observed over a 30-year span showed that the way a person breathes is the primary measure of potential life span. (From Framingham study) Do As One

The breath practice above suggested by the Dalai Lama is simple and effective, or the simple words of “I am breathing in” and “I am breathing out” for 10 breaths, with eyes open or closed, and in a posture of comfort is one way of breaking the anxiety cycle….and putting your focus on enhancing the way in which you are presently breathing and living!

Begin 2013 with cherishing your breath, yourself….and all beings.



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