How Breathing Saved My Life

by Matt on August 7, 2013

note to self imageYou might think it funny for me to say that breathing saved my life.

I mean, I realize that breathing, in a sense, “saves our life” every minute of every day. To me, though, this just shows how much power our breath has for our lives!

What if we could harness that simple act to create an abundance of energy?  There are yogis who have been doing just that for thousands of years, and now I know why!

All day and night, in, out, in, out. Think about what it feels like to NOT be able to breathe. Pretty difficult to be happy when we need air, right?

About 5 years ago, I was introduced to a yogic exercise called “pranayama yoga,” which loosely translated means “breath control union.” What that means is that through controlling the breath, we achieve union.

(As I write this, the song “Hallelujah” performed by James Buckley just came on in the coffee shop where I write in the mornings! And this song is not only a favorite of mine to play while I am teaching breathwork to classes and individuals, it also mentions “David” which is the name of the teacher who I study with who taught me the most about this work).

Anyway, union with what? And why is that important?

So the Union that Yoga is interested in fostering in you is a union between your heart and mind and actions. In your heart lies your truest wants and knowing about who you really are. In your mind is the intellectual understanding of and ability to discriminate, learn, and direct your will. And in your actions is the manifestation of the work that your mind and heart are accomplishing: the results of your thoughts and wants.

So how did this Pranayama help me?

Well, I had for years had a pretty significant split going on between my heart and mind that was playing out in some specific actions. I wanted to work in a more creative capacity than I was, I wanted to have less depression and anxiety, and I wanted to stop abusing certain drugs.

I had been trying various paths to “get where I wanted to go” for years, and the progress was slow, came in fits and starts, and many times I went backwards, or so it felt.

Enter Pranayama, and not just pranayama, but the 2-part mouth breathing that I call the Magic Breath, and the deeply relaxed state that follows this particular way of breathing.

David Elliott, who taught me how to teach this work, says, “for some people, just reaching this deep state once can save their life.” I can attest to that level of results from watching my clients. I have had people come take one class from me, and tell me 3 years later that they are infinitely grateful and still doing great since they “breathed.”

As for my progress, I have been breathing this way for about 4 and half years, for as little as 10 minutes a day, and I have had huge results! I am playing music, writing, working hard, having fun again. Amazingly, when I just focused on doing the yoga, the addiction part just faded away. After all that effort at “stopping” my behavior, I realized, that instead of fighting the addiction and anxiety, I just needed to relax!

I also am just more healthy overall. Many doctors are now espousing the benefits of focused breathing and meditation, 2 of the main things I do, and now teach, through my classes and private sessions.

There is so much more that I have learned, tried, and been able to teach about “right living” and Love, and the body-heart-soul-mind connection. I am infinitely grateful to have learned this technique and for the teachers whom I have been blessed to learn from.

The point is, there is a lot of wisdom in the old adage, “just breathe.”

Action: Go to this video and try it for 7-10 minutes yourself…

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Matt Ahern shares his secrets to being a good "life artist" to people all over the world. Do you want more magic, simplicity, synchronicity, Love, art and healing for your life and this Earth? Sign up to connect with Matt, read his thoughts, and get stories, tips, art, and music from his heart to yours.

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