The Miracle of Breathing

“The wisest one word sentence: Breathe.” Terri Guillemets

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. – Thich Nhat Hanh


Dr. Adam Gries has been talking with his patients for years about the power of the breath. Ancient wisdom from many of the world’s traditions honors the breath as being a fundamental for spiritual and physical health–and modern research makes it clear: breathing properly affects our lives in myriad positive ways. 

In 1000 B.C. China and throughout India, the breath was first written about as being connected to the vital principle for life. This life force, in Traditional Chinese Medicine called the qi (pronounced “chi”) and in Yogic practice, prana, is directly related to the quality of our breath. In the ancient Greek and Hebrew traditions, breath was intrinsic to enhancing one’s spirit, and was even related to the presence of the divine. 

Breathing is, of course, central to our existence and a constant that, for the most part, we give minimal attention to. Perhaps that is why we will often give great attention to our food choices and our workouts, but we won’t give breathing a thought. The breath is always there for us. 

The last several years have brought a wave of scientific study about the practice of breathing. Yogic breathing (pranayama) exercises have exhibited a powerful effect on the lungs of patients with severe asthma–decreasing the histamine response that triggers an attack by as much as 20 percent.

The breath allows rest in the body and can quiet the mind. (And breathing can lead to smiling and smiling can lead to laughing…And laughing just helps with every little thing.) 



Dr. Adam Gries, acupuncturist/life coach at Awakenings Health

Post written by Deana Vassar