I recently heard someone talking about the Rule of 3’s in Survival: 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 min without breath.
One of the themes for 2020 has been “I can’t Breathe.” We had the brutal murder of George Floyd gasping, “I can’t Breathe.” The rainforests, the lungs of Earth, are being deforested at an alarming rate. Around 17% of the forest in the Amazon has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. The last couple of months have been wrought with the most fires the West Coast has ever seen. The sky is filled with so much smoke and ash that literally people there can’t breathe. What if it’s no coincidence that as we ravage the Earth’s lungs, that a tiny little virus attacks our lungs.
Our lungs are not just for breathing but energetically, its where we hold our grief. We haven’t made it past the 4th chakra (self-love) and there, is the respiratory problem. We are being asked to make the changes needed to release – on a soul level too.
May I feel all I need to feel in order to heal; may I heal all I need to heal in order to feel. — Marguerite Rigoglioso
We are starting to realize what has been taking our breath away. And recognizing that, we can start healing the heart and lungs. It’s time to look at how we take our air. How we take our breath. Asking ourselves, where am I using my breath as a weapon? Where am I holding breath? The heart and lungs, partners in respiration, partners in inspiration. Spirit in. Breath work can help unlock this chakra. The breath is sacred. Containing the life force (or prana), air is crucial to life. We breathe unconsciously and are seldom aware of the life-giving properties within the air. But when, through intention, we consciously breathe this divine energy, we become infused with a surplus of pure vital force. The one thing you can’t live without is the breath. Feel the power of life flowing through you. The breath is the reason you are having any experience at all. The wonder of being alive. With every breath you take, you are experiencing a sacred exchange. You are literally connected through your breath with all of life. The Latin word conspire literally means to breathe together (with); breathe in unison or accord. You can see this sacred exchange in the Breath of Ha in Hawaii. Hawaiians often greeted each other by sharing ha, or their breath. This exchange of breath is done when two people press their foreheads together while inhaling at the same time. It’s a Hawaiian greeting that welcomes the other person into their space by sharing the breath of life, which was sacred to the culture. Ancient Hawaiians recognized that their breath was the key to good health and believed it possessed mana (spiritual power). You are probably familiar with the words - O-HA-na (family) and Alo-HA (love or living in harmony with the people and land around you). Breath is the human superpower. When we breathe together, we connect. Our new mantra is I CAN breathe. Check out Sia's song about still breathing, Alive. So, how do you find a place of refuge? A space where you can really breathe and intentionally allow your heart, body, and mind to relax and be nourished? Here’s one technique... Breathwork for cleaning and strengthening the lungs
Throughout the day, each nostril takes regular breaks by alternating congestion and decongestion called the nasal cycle. This changeover occurs every 2-4 hours. Right now, if you're breathing through your nose, most of the air is going in and out of one side, with a much smaller amount passing through the other.
Which nostril is dominant? The left side of the human body is associated with the right hemisphere of the brain and the right side of the human body is associated with the left hemisphere of the brain. Right nostril breathing leads to increased sympathetic activity (stress, fight or flight) while left nostril breathing increases parasympathetic tone (peace, rest and relax).
With regular practice of Nadi Shodhana pranayama, we can make both nostrils active and hence activate both sides of our brain. The spiritual benefits are even more impressive. Our physical body is governed by a network of 72,000 subtle energy channels (nadis). The 3 major ones are the Ida, Pingala, and the Sushumna which runs through the spinal cord.
The Ida is on the left side and connected with the left nostril; the Pingala is on the right side connected with the right nostril. The main channel in the center is the Sushumna which controls our physical body and the endocrine glands. The Ida and Pingala nadis spiral around the Sushumna like the double helix DNA. Where Ida and Pingala cross is a nerve bundle as well as an energetic chakra. Imagine the medical caduceus.
Through regular practice, these channels are cleaned and energy flows freely. As Ida and Pingala become clear, the energy flow is freed in the Sushumna as well. The Sushumna starts at the base of the spine, our Root chakra, and it runs to the top of the head where it branches into 1,000 petals and creates the crown center or Sahasrara chakra.
Often referred to as a thousand-petaled lotus, as described in last month's Musings, the Sahasrara is said to be the most subtle chakra in the system, relating to pure consciousness, and it is from this chakra that all the other chakras emanate. When a yogi is able to raise his/her vibration (energy of consciousness) up to this point, the state of bliss Samadhi is experienced - oneness.
We are connected to the Universe - Divine Source - through our crown center above and to Mother Earth through our root center and feet below. Thus, free flow of energy in the Sushumna establishes ONENESS with the entire UNIVERSE. An exchange of energy is initiated between the micro cosmos and macro cosmos!
Science has established that everything is energy. The Q’ero of Peru call the energy that vibrates fast and at a high frequency sami. Energy that is low & slow is hoocha. Therefore, matter is “bottled up” slow energy. In spiritual language, this energy is called Prana, Qi, Chi, or vital life force. Prana is defined to be the basic entity from which the entire Universe is made.
If you observe, the animals that breath less cycles per minute live longer. For example, a turtle will breathe only 4-5 cycles per minute and live for 150 yrs. Dogs live only 12-13 yrs as they breath very fast (25 cycles per minute). So it’s very important to breathe slowly, fully and deeply. Exhale. Release and let go of 2020. Inhale. Welcoming in 2021 and the many opportunities to continue our Engoldment. B * R * E * A * T * H * E.
When you have nothing left, all you have is yourself, make them a person worth being with." ~ Your dear friend, 2020