The thing that always amazes me about the breath is how it seems to know exactly what we need, even when we might not know ourselves.
I came to breathwork because meditation and yoga, on their own, weren’t quite able to take me to the depths I needed to go within myself. We store so much of our experience in our bodies on a subconscious level. By connecting with our breath, we can connect with all that information lying below the level of our thinking minds. Anything that needs to be integrated or shifted can be unlocked and processed.
Through this movement away from the thinking mind, breath brings us into deeper connection with ourselves allowing us to access deeper states of meditation and a somatic felt sense of what lies at our core being. I like to think of the breath as a vehicle that transports us into a meditative state, making meditation a little easier and more accessible than just trying to jump right in.
One way to use the breath in this way is for intention setting. Begin simply by bringing your awareness to your breath. Once you have that connection established, you can bring more intention into your breath by slowing it down and breathing deeply into your belly.
As you continue to breathe in this way, let yourself think of an intention. There’s no need to overthink this process. Let whatever comes up be witnessed. If your mind wants to bounce between intentions, give it the space to do that without becoming attached to any particular idea. Stay with your breath and the noise will begin to clear.
Once you have settled on an intention, breathe into the feeling of it. Use each inhale to grow that positive energy so that it radiates throughout your body. Use each exhale to let go of anything that doesn’t support your intention. Each breath takes you a little bit deeper, revealing more detail about your intention.
Moving through deeper layers of meditative states, you might begin to notice shifts in your intention. For example, if your intention at the beginning was to feel more love, you might begin to hear this as being more open to listening to your partner as they talk about their day over dinner.
When we start to access the wisdom in our bodies in this way, it can be helpful to know that the information we receive might not always come to us in words. It might come as an image, sound, color, or a sense of knowing. It might not come right away either. Perhaps we have a moment of stillness while washing the dishes and suddenly everything makes sense.
Let the process flow in its own unique way for you, because we are each so unique. By connecting to the flow of our breath, we connect to our own flow through life, using what we already have to support ourselves in the most empowered way. When in doubt, take a moment to ask yourself, “what do I need?”
Then take a breath and listen.