Archive for the ‘breathing’ Category


I think we’re slowly waking up to how spiritually arrogant we have been in the West. For literally thousands of years people of pretty much every faith tradition have talked about the importance of the body in prayer. Yet since the enlightenment (when we were told that rationality was pretty much all that mattered) we have ignored this wisdom and done our own thing.

But it does matter.

If you learn to sit in one of the ‘eastern’ positions for example – the lotus or half lotus – you have to sit with an erect spine. This keeps you alert. It also opens up deeper breathing – breathing from the abdomen which helps to still the mind and opens up a deeper level of prayer.

Most of us probably already know this. It’s something that I have been learning more recently. What amazes me is that I haven’t been taught it before – things like this just aren’t seen as important in the protestant tradition.

I am glad more people are rediscovering this important sense of our connectness as whole human beings.


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6 Breaths a Minute



Many spiritual teachers and writers – of all traditions – talk of the importance of the breath for meditation and interior silence. It’s a big deal.

Phrases like ‘watching the breath’ or ‘practicing with the breath’ are common. I will write more about this at another time. But last week I was listening to Rob Bell (author of ‘Velvet Elvis’ and the man behind the popular Nooma DVD’s). He was referencing some research that linked breathing to energy. We all know how our breathing is linked to our state of mind – if we are anxious our breathing will be quick and shallow. If we are in a rested, peaceful state we breathe more slowly and deeply. But what we perhaps weren’t aware of is the link between breathing and energy. Apparently if we breathe around 6 breaths per minute we will optimize the amount of energy that is available to us.

Most of us breathe more like 20 breaths a minute – quick shallow breaths. This dissipates us. The research Bell was referencing suggested that when we breathe like this we access less than 10% of available energy.

So apart from the link between breathing and deeper prayer states, it would seem that if we can slow and deepen our breathing we will access more energy generally. Try it – count how many times a minute you breathe.

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