In the mind’s eye, I observe the slow and deep inhalation and exhalation of the breath while feeling the body move subtly with graceful fluidity. Gradually, a peaceful sense of whole being is realized. Spirit resides here. Pranayama (yogic breathing) can deepen our sense of spirituality in a profound way. This practice of breathing as meditation becomes a grace.

When was the last time you took a deep, peaceful, and healing "yogic" breath? We humans, for the most part, are unconscious breathers. I recently participated in a workshop on sacred geometry and the activation of the merkaba – the light body or energy field that surrounds the evolved human – and when properly recreated, it can transport us to other levels of consciousness.

What activates this vehicle is a specific 17-breath meditation. It is an ancient process of breathing prana that, when done very consciously and from love, leads to profound healing. Breathing in this fashion made me think of the dolphins and whales. I believe that these creatures are spiritually aware and sentient beings…and, wouldn’t you know, these animals are conscious breathers? They actively decide when to breathe, so as to survive.

We can learn a lot from these highly conscious creatures. By their cognizant breathing and the way in which they move and swim, they continuously pump energies up and down the spine, from the base (root) all the way up to the pineal gland, located in the center of the brain. When energy from movement and breath is brought up the spine and permeates the pineal gland within the crown and beyond, through meditation, Christ Consciousness can be realized.

So much power to obtain and transformation to be experienced, all by the act of breathing!

Breathing is essential to living. The primary source of one’s sustenance is derived from the prana extracted from the air. The more life force one has within the body, the more alive and spirited one is, for within the breath lies abundant healing power. Physiologically speaking, breathing deep brings greater oxygen to the blood and brain. Also, when the breath is slow and rhythmic, anxieties and tensions lessen or slowly dissolve, affecting the central nervous system. Control of the mind for purposes of concentration is greatly increased.

There are three parts to a breath. The first is the inhalation, which is deep and full and is felt by an expansion of the abdomen and a lowering of the diaphragm. The second part is the retention. In the moments of pause, not only are we "building the energy," we are also stilling the mind as we are in between inhale and exhale. It is within this gap, especially, that our awareness is altered as spirit is no longer bound to the matter of our bodies. Rather, it resides in a space of timeless dimension (of mind). As our breath slows down and then ceases, for a time, thought slows down. It is very difficult to think when you are holding your breath. The mind follows the breath; the breath follows the mind. When the mind is let go, we reach nothingness, where pure Spirit resides. It is ecstasy. Yes, at some point we do need part three, the exhale. Here, we "let go" to make room for the new – a kind of destruction or ridding, for without this release, there is no room for creation. The abdomen contracts and the diaphragm rises, as the breath is released – very rhythmically and slowly.

So, go ahead and breathe! Practice and meditate with it, and soon you will begin to feel its affects on your whole being – not just on the physical, but also on the mental, emotional and spiritual plane. Over time, you will begin to see your consciousness levels shift, as you become more aware of this life force to gain overall health, while also realizing your true Self.

The physical body is always in a state of present moment. Use the breath to bring the mind and emotions to the body in this state of oneness. It feels divine. Try it – be Inspired!

Julie K. Halevan is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Tantrika and Reiki Master who trained with and graduated, with high honors, from the Aura Hatha Yoga School in North Providence, RI. She is a graduate of Xavier University and received yogic training at the Sivananda Ashram, located in Naussau, Bahamas. Here she was instructed by senior disciples of Swami Vishnu Devananda. She has received training in Shamanism and recently visited Peru and Egypt as part of her spiritual quest. She currently teaches pranayama and Tantra Kriya Yoga classes and gives demonstrations/presentations and facilitates workshops on tantric/shakti yogic practices – awakening the feminine, and emotional energy clearing. Most importantly, she is a wife and mother to three sons, whose zest for life, everyday, continues to inspire her! Julie is available for personalized and individualized yoga therapy sessions. Call for an appointment. She can be reached at 319.290.0058 or email her today.

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