Continuing our journey through the Elements as we prepare for the upcoming workshop Empowering Yourself with Clay, Dreams, Breath and Journeying, Let’s look again at the element of Air, and how we breathe.

Air: a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and minute amounts of other gases that surrounds the earth and forms its atmosphere and that which we breathe.

Breathe: to draw air into and expel it from the lungs; respire: to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes: to inhale and exhale freely.

After we’ve grounded, created and cleansed by getting our hands and faces and feet in clay; after we’ve been amazed by the wise messages we’ve received from ourselves in dreams, had a healthy meal, some laughs and a restful sleep, we’ll launch another day by breathing together.

We all learned in our science classes that respiration is governed by the autonomic nervous system. That means that our brain assures that we continue to breathe when we’re asleep or even unconscious. What we weren’t taught in science class is how we can take charge of our breathing when we’re awake, and by doing that alter our experience of every aspect of our lives.

Although we know that we should ‘take a deep breath and count to ten’ in order to control our anger; and we have been exposed to the concept, or even the experience of breath control in labor and childbirth for managing the pain. We may know about yogic breath – and breathing in meditation for quieting the mind and deepening and broadening our consciousness – few of us have given it much further thought. Yet, if we were to google breath control, we would find, as I did, many websites and articles on the myriad other ways that we can empower ourselves with our breath!

Online you’ll find information on a wide variety of options such as: setting up a successful day with your breath – in just two minutes practicing ‘warrior breathing’ for success how breathing techniques can enhance your posture……and your daily run – how to control both your breath and your anxiety – breathe yourself to sleep – even how proper breathing can keep you young!

In fact, for thousands of years human beings have found that by changing the rate, ratio, volume and flow of their respiratory cycle experiential and perceptual shifts in consciousness, spiritual awareness, cognition and even self-identity can occur. How could we have been ignoring this powerful tool that’s been available to us all with no purchase required for all this time! Let’s ignore it no more!

You can learn simple and effective methods of intentional breathing as part of our upcoming Empower Yourself weekend June 27-28th at Clay Alchemy from the Voice of Clay in Brookline NH.

The act of conscious breathing energizes, cleanses, purifies, uplifts, balances and reconnectsus to higher states of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.

shannon Burke