On Breathing

Breathing is the first.

After watching my partner grow our daughter from two cells, I am convinced that life begins then, at the joining of two cells (the one—space—to the two—sperm and ovum—to the three—embryo). Yet there is undeniably a shift that happens when the first breath is taken. Perhaps it is simply the first thing that you do on your own. Until that first breath outside the womb, mother and child are one (one and not one). And then the lungs fill with air from the world and mother and child change (not one and one).

Buddhist meditation practices often begin with breathing. Yoga postures use the breath to connect the mind and the body. The foundational practice of many Chinese martial arts, zhan zhuang qigong, is a standing posture and steady, relaxed breathing.

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