The importance of breath

Dr. Lipman’s interview with Gabrielle Roth


In your classes you focus a lot on the breath, why?

Many of us hold our breath. Breath is a catalyst. When you let it in, feelings move, thoughts move, muscles move. With or without our permission, we are being revealed, and we don’t trust that we’re lovable, amazing and fascinating creatures underneath it all. The body can’t lie, so when we’re thinking one thing, feeling another, and doing a third, it’s very noticeable. Hiding and denying takes all our energy. When we’re holding big parts of ourselves back, it’s hard to be loose and natural. And when we’re holding something as big as the breath back, it’s impossible to be free. There is no dogma in the dance. It will never betray you. All you have to do is dance till there’s nothing left of you but breath. Whatever is going on inside of you—resistance, anger, anxiety, self-consciousness—use it as fuel for your dance. Do an angry dance. Do a resistant dance. In other words, it’s all energy, and the nature of energy is movement. A healthy person integrates all their experiences into their flow. A healthy person is bigger than their body. Spirit moves through them unobstructed, and in their presence all you can feel is something whole and holy.

You say that “a person is only as deep as they breathe.” What’s the first step for someone who wants to learn to change how they breathe?

You don’t want to change how you breathe, you want how you breathe to change you. It’s not about control; it’s about surrender. You can begin by sitting still and simply observing the breath, its rhythm, its depth, its dance as it moves in and through you. Make no effort to change it. And then get up and dance as hard as you can. When you can’t take another step, sit down again and feel the difference of how your breath is moving in your body. Note where it is struggling to break through blocks. This is the most intimate glimpse of our spiritual struggle.

Extrait de l’article « Dr. Lipman’s Interview with Gabrielle Roth », paru en février 2005 dans la Newsletter du MCS.

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