The Parts of the Breath: Purpose


In my universe, the breath has four distinct parts, each with a purpose. Working fluidly together, they can flow like a sheet of music.


The inhale brings oxygen (life force) into our lungs. This movement takes energy to expand our lung cavity. Inhaling deep down into the diaphragm absorbs 20% more oxygen. Focus as your lungs expand.


The first pause takes power to hold back our inflated lungs. The purpose is to allow the oxygen to be absorbed, the most immediate physical need we have. Suicide rates are higher at higher altitudes, connected to oxygen levels. Our mind uses 25% of our oxygen, it never sleeps.

The exhale releases carbon dioxide, the waste product from our oxygen consumption. The pressure is released slowly, effortlessly, calming our nervous system. The exhaust is warmer than the inhale, slower without effort.

The last pause takes little energy. The lungs are empty and at rest, the purpose is to let the toxic air, the carbon dioxide, to dissipate. We do not want to inhale air-filled with carbon dioxide. We pause to take in oxygen rich air.

Meditation is the specific focus, on each part of the breath. It is training the mind to expand awareness, to unplug the cognitive engine for a break.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jeanetteirene on December 3, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Beautiful lesson …… and it is working wonderfully.

  2. It is an accumulative practice if done with purpose

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