The Breath of Life describes the mechanisms and the awarenesses necessary for increased capacity for breath. Embracing our breath is crucial for living a healthy life. This article was written on April 2015 and published in the second issue of Probiotics & Cannabis – May 2015.
The Breath of Life by Gage Green Group
What is breath and why contemplate the breath? In meditation and natural healing, the breath is a central focus, how do we utilize it? Understand the essence of breath to discover a more comprehensive visualization of the subtle body, or inner universe. By incorporating cannabis into the context of breathing, we discover more practical ways to deepening our meditation.
Breath is the action that draws air into the lungs. It supplies oxygen and other life-giving compounds to our body. Without it, we would cease to exist. To some, the meaning of breath stops right here. Breath, however, is much more. It does not simply enter the lung and stop in the chest. In fact, breath travels through the lungs and physically enters different parts of our bodies. According to natural health practitioners, the more we have control over our breath, the more resistant we become to dis-ease and pain.
Furthermore, we connect breath to an even more abstract term- chi. Chi is a term used within martial arts and meditation circles, often without a clear definition. It is often described as energy, but everything is energy. What exactly is chi? The literal translation of chi, from Chinese to English, is gas. Gas, or air, creates the space which we live in. Everything from beneficial oxygen to toxic fumes to the flavorful terpenes from cannabis can be categorized as chi. We also translate chi as breath. Almost everything we absorb into our system contains chi. Even the food we eat is fermented and much is turned into gaseous compounds which fills our system. When we understand chi as breath, the paradigm begins to shift.
When we eat well and break down our food, we release beneficial chi in the form of terpenes and antioxidants. Eating a home-grown probiotic salad, will produce very discernable flavors which pierces through the subtle body. It is much akin to drinking an herbal tea or eating spices and feeling the tingle in the sinuses. The expansive nature of the flavors will express alterations in mood and physical changes when passing through the body. It may even melt away tightness. It is very beneficial to breathe the expansive flavors of foods and herbs through the entire body.
Aromatherapy is the practice of healing with aromas. This is also a key foundation to the practical healing applications of cannabis within the body. For example, every herb, including cannabis, is filled with its unique collection of terpenoids or terpenes. Terpenes are defined scientifically as highly volatile gaseous molecules with aromatic properties. They are volatile because they move fast and expand. Cannabinoids are terpenoids. Each terpene compound vibrates at a unique frequency based on its chemical form, and creates unique flavors. Terpenes often have anti-fungal and anti-oxidative properties so it is useful to learn how to direct this chi into different parts of the body.
One way to become a master at manipulating the internal universe is to become in tune with the effects of healing breath within the body. When eating a high-brix salad, or smoking probiotic cannabis, we feel the effects of the healing compounds coursing through our body. It is beneficial to feel the effects on the body and acknowledge their unique attributes. In fact, it is the different terpenes and vibrations within cannabis which direct the effects to different parts of the body.
The second step is to begin manipulating the body through relaxation and expansion rather than through tension. When the body is inflamed or blocked up from stress and toxins, the gases build up over time create environments suitable for pathogens. This is also how fat is formed. By letting go of tension within the body, we actually facilitate the movement of chi, or breath, through the body. This circulation moves healing air into stagnant layers of the body. This is one key to longevity. By relaxing and learning to live without tension, we use our body more efficiently and effectively.
When we use herbs, the body searches for ways to expand back into its original form. It is time to let go of the tension which holds us back. By clearing away twists and tightness within the fascia, or body’s connective tissue, we re-discover a life of ease and naturalness. By learning to follow our breath, and relaxing the pathways for better circulation, we can become healthier and more vibrant day by day.
Always use cannabis in an intentional way. Our intention is always to use herb for healing and opening the mind. When we reduce the tension and open the pathways within the body, we are doing the same to the mind. For the mind is the body.
Instead of inhaling a big breath of smoke or vapor and then coughing it all out, we ought to be conscious of how the herb is traveling through our body- where it goes and does not go. By moving with the flow of the expansion, we can often facilitate and direct the herb to move into even deeper channels. The expansive properties of the herb, when combined with the breath, help us realize our latent abilities and remove the barriers full human potential.
The basics outlined here should give the practicing herbalist a blueprint for how to begin healing at a more practical and efficient level using breath. The ultimate goal is to open every pathway within the body. This will help us reach our full potential. May your every breath be intentional and blessed.