Breath Taking Rocky Mountain Vista

How Conscious Breathing Works Two Miracles in Our Lives

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I marvel at the way God designed life. Take breathing for example. Much of the time we don’t even notice it. Still, it’s miraculous. Inhaling fills our lungs with O2 which delivers it into our blood system which in turn keeps our cells alive. Then the reverse happens and our blood delivers poisonous CO2 back to our lungs and exhaling expels it. But breathing delivers more than physical life. 

Genesis 2 tells us that God formed us from dust and breathed not O2 into us but this unfathomable thing called ruach, or spirit. God’s breath is more than air. God’s breath conveys spiritual as well as physical life. This means we are not merely electrically charged cells but God-animated beings. Neither are we souls in a body to be discarded at death. Our physicality and spirituality are intrinsically entwined. Equally beautiful and beloved and necessary. We are wholly created in God’s image.

Thus conscious breathing works two miracles in our lives. It keeps us healthy and alive physically and it can keep us healthy and alive spiritually.

Picture of Health

How Conscious Breathing Has Given Me Health

As Ive waged a battle with long COVID,* I’ve learned about resonant breathing. Resonant breathing is slowly taking air into your lungs until it pushes your stomach out, then slowly expelling that air until your stomach is flat. These breaths should take a count of five to seven. Around seven breaths a minute. I practice resonant breathing for ten-minute shots twice a day, particularly after engaging in something stressful where I need to reset my autonomic nervous system (The ANS is responsible for our fight or flight response as well as our ability to relax). This intentional breathing then helps regulate essential body functions and fosters health. Research is now telling us that many of us live in a constant state of low-level sympathetic system activation, in continual acceleration, fear, and exhaustion. In this state, our bodies become worn down and prone to illness. Sound familiar?

As I’ve recovered from long COVID, these ten-minute twice-daily breathing breaks have been my main weapons against this insidious disease. I’ve not had a long COVID crash since December! 

Conscious Breathing Is God’s Self-control System

Breathing then not only keeps us alive but also provides resilience and the ability to respond appropriately to different life stimuli: stress. Resonant breathing moves us into a place to restore our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. To self-regulate. Scripture calls self-regulation self-control

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” Breathing is God’s intricate self-control system.

Piney Lake Celebration

Conscious Breathing as Spiritual Practice

Breathing works another miracle. 

I’ve also turned these breathing breaks into meditations and prayers.

Using the truth that God is the source of my breath and life I inhale while saying, (for example) “You are the Source of life.” This is inhaling the truth of God. I hold that truth and breath for the count of five.

Then I slowly exhale my request, my need, “Give me healing/hope/etc.” (My next Sunday Psalm will be a prayer written in this fashion for us all to practice.) So not only am I aiding my body in rest and healing through healthy breathing, but I am asking the Source to participate in that healing as well.

Some call these breath prayers and are one way to pray without ceasing as Paul encouraged us to do.

The Meaning of Lent

Spiritual Breathing As A Lenten Practice

Today is the first day of Lent. I like to think of Lent as a call to Fasting and Feasting. In this version of Lent, we add something beautiful and beneficial to our lives and subtract something harmful. I suggest we fast from trying to control life, from stress and fretting, and feast on spiritual breathing as a way to let go and make room for God’s love, redemption, and provision.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30 The Message

Scripture and ancient spiritual wisdom are full of calls to live in rhythm, sleep, take Sabbath, and through these practices, to trust in God for the things we cannot control, which is damn near everything. These disciplines are essential to healthy living. This is why advocates of meditation focus on breathing, it is Sabbath by the breath. But as you can see from above it’s not just smoky eastern mysticism.

Conscious Breathing

In 1975 I nearly drowned while snorkeling in a wild, rock-lined cove on a remote island in Subic Bay, Philippines. I went snorkeling with two beach-born Navy friends. As a mountain-born kid, I’d never snorkeled before. Being alone in the vast ocean activated my God-given fight-or-flight response and slowed down my ability to reason. My shallow, panicked breathing starved my body and brain of oxygen. My panic is what nearly did me in. Fortunately, my more practiced friends came to my aid. They knew how to breathe.

Many of us don’t truly know how to breathe on land. We have no idea God designed this simple life-giving process to work the miracle bringing us spiritual life as well. 

This Lent add a new and old discipline to your life. The miracle of breath. 

Breath Taking

Read more here:

Lent: Is Your Life A Feast Or Famine?

The Wonder Of Len

You Are Not–And Never Will Be–In Control. But It’s Okay!

16 thoughts on “How Conscious Breathing Works Two Miracles in Our Lives”

  1. Linking self-regulate to self-control is a concept I never thought of. It is true that we control so little of life, but we can self-regulate our breathing!

    Fasting from worry, fear, and anxiety and feasting on God, His love for me and His truth is something I could get excited about doing this Lenten season. I look forward to your Sunday Psalm.

    1. I like your list of things to fast from and feast on. Self-control is the only control God gives us. And if we lack gentleness, kindness, etc., self-control or self-regulation is a way to gain them as opposed to just trying harder or shouldering yourself. This is a way to cooperate with the Spirit.

  2. So Beautiful, True, and Inspiring.
    Thank you, Eugene.
    Breathing deeply…

  3. Often, when in Court, I remind my clients to breathe. It is frequently the case that stress interferes with what ought to be an involuntary process. The Navy seals have breathing as a basic consideration before any stressful operation, too. I’ll add your analysis as reasons to think about breathing!

    1. Thanks, Joe. I’m finding so many people are affirming this in their lives and practices. I’ve read about the Navy Seals as well. Many athletes use some form of this. The science for it and how it affects so many of our systems is a testimony to God’s intricate design. The connection I found between the self-control passages in scripture, which is the only thing scripture says for us to control, and our breathing, vagus nerve, etc., and how that gives us self-control amazed me.

  4. Georgie Ann Kettig

    glad you are feeling so much better, Eugene!,… I remember quite awhile back that, in commenting, I was mentioning my own “life changing” experience (slow-down) with the “chronic fatigue” syndrome prevalent back in those days,… it had created a need for undeniable adjustments to a change of “pace and ability” that were unprecedented in our usual experience,… I had to acknowledge that it was more than frustrating, and beyond my control, but that there was definitely “a redemptive side” to it,… and I think I referred to the old Christian saying that says, rather than say that we have been “laid aside by illness”, instead, realize that we are being “called aside for stillness”,…

    what you have described here is such a wonderful elaboration on that theme, that I am extremely blessed!,… and yes, scriptures and all, it really is an undeniable and truthful reality in the delicate and special ways that God directs us and provides for us,… thank you so much for this!,… God Bless and love!,… g

    1. GA: You know I’m not usually one for slogans. But Laid aside for stillness is the heart of the matter. I hope God is providing healing through a stillness in him. Godspeed (which is not fast), my friend.

      1. Georgie Ann Kettig

        yes ~ it is a very very precious discovery,… & in truth, I’m so grateful that I can honestly say now, that “I wouldn’t have it any other way”,… thanks again!,… (-:

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