As my dear friend Sage Rader always says, if you are able to take another breath, more is right with you than wrong with you.
The act of inspiration, taking in a breath, is a gift, a blessing, a sign of life. Perhaps we can even say that is life itself.
I first learned about breath when I studied yoga at ISHTA in 2012. Being aware of my breath was not a thing before that. When we were taught the cycle of the breath, and how we can use conscious breathing and focus on certain parts of the cycle to hack our nervous system, hack our mental states, I was blown away. No pun intended. How could I not have been taught this before?
The cycle of the breath, the inhale, the pause at the top of the inhale, the exhale and then the pause at the bottom of the exhale, carries with it properties at each stage.
The inhale brings power, responsibility. The pause at the top brings discernment and inspiration. The exhale brings relaxation and release. The pause between the exhale and the inhale brings compassion, groundedness and focus.
You can play with this all day long to hack your mind, body and energy to get the feelings and results that you want. It was life changing for me, and I am not asking you to take my word for it. Try it for yourself and report back.
Fast forward to 2018 when I first met Sage Rader as a client at HACKD. Sage reconnected me with my breath not just for the moment to moment navigation of my day, but as a practice to release stuck energy, old trauma, in the system... and to increase peak physical performance. His work with his mentors, Dan Brule and Brian Mackenzie brought pieces of my breathwork puzzle together, unlocking indescribable quantum leaps in both consciousness and peak performance.
When COVID first hit, Sage committed to doing a free nightly breath session he dubbed Breath Church -- for over a year now, every night without fail at 6pm EST there has been a free community breath session. People from all over the world have come together to share breath, love, forgiveness, hope and surrender, during some pretty dark times. A team of breathworkers now continue this nightly ritual all over the world.
In honor of World Breathing Day that was this past Sunday, April 11th, as well as Sage's birthday, I say a huge thank you to all of my teachers who have shared the breath techniques that continue to change my life.