You know you're alive when you take a deep breath. 

Breathe, and the entire universe breathes in unison with you.


Every breath we take is a reflection of our relationship with the universe. Via the mixing of oxygen and carbon dioxide, our breath binds our individual lives with those of others and with the earth. However, once our breathing is impaired, we hardly know that we are breathing.

The way you breathe will tell a lot about you: It might indicate what you ate for lunch or how you're feeling—calm, anxious, excited, or sad. Antonio Damasio, a leading neuroscientist who studies emotion, claims that breath (along with heart rate and a few other physical indicators) will accurately determine one of four emotions—fear, indignation, pleasure, or sadness—by 65 percent. 

Before you even realize it, your breath (and cardiorespiratory activity) will represent your mood. When you scent something bad, your breath shortens, while pleasant odors encourage slow breathing (which may explain why most people feel safe in a garden). 

All of these reactions occur before you can determine if the smells are positive or unpleasant. The way we breathe will reveal a lot about ourselves and others.


In mindfulness, yoga, and most other mind-body activities, breathing is a primary focus. The term "spiritual," which is often synonymous with mind-body rituals, comes from the Latin spiritualis, which means "to breathe." Breath is a measure of one's wellbeing and happiness. 

The Greeks considered the heart and lungs to be the most essential faculties of life, since they embodied the center of vitality. In Chinese medicine, qi (or chi) is a measurement of the body's life force, which is determined by examining the heartbeat and breathing. 

This life force is referred to as prana in Indian philosophy. Breath is a fundamental vital sign of health in Western medicine, as shown by the use of stethoscopes in nearly any health test.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.