Yoga Magick & Witchcraft: Meditation through Breathwork
Breathing should be easy, right? Turns out, it's not always! Trust me on that one. Breathwork and meditation go hand-in-hand, and in this blog we'll go over exactly how I've used it throughout meditations, Yoga and Witchcraft. It's been an incredibly helpful tool for my personal practice, but also helps me so much with mental clarity, focus, and anxiety management.
What is Breathwork?
Breathwork can be defined as flushing out negative energies, stress, and toxins out of your body through dedicated breathing. Learning how to control your breath is imperative, if you don't control your breath it will control you. What I mean by this is that our breathing actually regulates our parasympathetic nervous system, so rapid breath will induce a rapid heart-rate, and slower breath will help lower the heart rate, and induce relaxation, and even put your brain into a Theta state, which is a state of very deep relaxation, the one right before we fall asleep. With this state of calm, it's easier to connect with spirit and channel messages from the divine.
Magickal breath is about taking in all the energies of the universe around you, the magick within you, and the power of intent and manifestation from within you, using it to breathe it into the world around you. Breathing it into power.
Yogic breath work is an ancient practice that can help us to find more ease and relaxation in our daily lives. I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure we can all use more day-to-day relaxation. It involves a range of different breathing techniques, including ujjai breath, alternate nostril breathing, and bhastrika breath (or 'bellows breath'). Each type of breathing technique has its own unique benefits and effects. Ujjai breath helps to calm the nervous system, alternate nostril breathing can help balance the two sides of the brain which is very useful for maintaining harmony and balance with the logical brain and the creative brain.
No matter what type of yogic breath work you choose, it's important to practice with intention and presence. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you do the breathing exercises, being mindful of each inhale and exhale. This will help you get the most out of it and go deeper into the experience.
Breathwork in Witchcraft
Witches use magickal breath to charge sacred items, to breathe life into a spell or working (Pun only slightly intended), protection workings and many more magickal ways. One way to use your magickal breath in witchcraft is to close your eyes, create your manifestation intent, and say it aloud. If you are trying to bless an item, speak the blessing directly onto the item. Or yell at it, sometimes you need that little extra uumph, if you know what I mean.
One way my coven has always used magickal breath is through spirit cigars. As you inhale the smoke, focus on your manifestation intent, and then as you breathe it out, breathe out that energy into the universe. You can also use your magickal breath as an offering as well, it's not uncommon to see a witch breathing smoke into a fire while thinking of an ancestor or loved one, it's keeping that life force alive through the spirit of the smoke and the breath.
Breathwork in Yoga
Breathwork in Yoga has it's origins in India and is referred to as Pranayama. Pranayama is defined as "elevating ones life forces" (Although in the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, it translates to "complete cessation of breathing"). With that said, please keep breathing, we aren't trying to be ascended masters.
Through dedicated, focused breathing while combined with Yoga, you can train your body and mind to ascend. Focusing on the breath in yoga not only allows the practitioner to have a still mind, but it is actually crucial for more challenging poses, especially balancing poses and inversion. With that said, creating and maintaining those patterns of breathing as I move throughout the different positions sets me in that perfect headspace where I am ready to feel my body, connect to the right emotions (the ones that matter,), and my magick.
Benefits of Breathwork
Mental Health Benefits of Breathwork
Yogic breath work is great for calming an overactive mind and helping with stress management. By focusing on your breathing, it can help to draw away attention from outside distractions and put your focus onto something more soothing. It's like taking a break from all the chaos and noise of life, and instead focusing on an internal source of peace. If you are feeling over-whelmed or overly anxious, try beginning with taking in a breath for four counts then exhaling for eight counts. You'll notice your heart beginning to slow down, and you can start thinking clearly again as oxygen re-enters your bloodstream.
Sometimes I try to imagine a beautiful flower blooming during my inhales, then blooming in reverse in my exhales. It helps me focus on my body, the beauty of the world, and my breath. If you are struggling to maintain focus during these exercises, take the time to really focus on the flower. What kind of flower is it? What color is it? I promise that over time, along with committing to your breath work, you will get the hang of it. Plus, when you start the practice of visualizing images in your minds eye, it enhances psychic development
Yogic breath work can provide a sense of relaxation and inner calmness, allowing you to connect with your inner self on a deeper level. It can be an incredibly meditative practice that allows you to find peace and balance within yourself - creating space for healing and transformation. Letting go of stress, which quite frankly is essential for those wishing to seek a more balanced and present life.
Physical Benefits of Breathwork
Yogic breath work is also beneficial for physical health. It can help improve lung capacity, increase circulation reduce blood pressure, enhance digestion and stimulate your lymphatic system. All in all, it's a great way to promote overall wellbeing by bringing balance and harmony to your body. Inhale the good, exhale the bad.
Breathwork has also been show to aid in asthma patients, as it strengthens the lungs and boosts the immune system. As an asthmatic, you will hear me huff and puff like crazy in a yoga class, but I can attest to how much it's helped me with my asthma, and which absolutely correlates with my anxiety management.
Breathwork in Meditation
Adapting breathwork techniques into meditation has shown to have a positive impact on healing both physically and mentally. Meditation allows you to momentarily leave worries aside, anxieties, to adventure within yourself and discover new ways to heal.
With practice, you'll be able to feel more relaxed and have an increased sense of wellbeing. So why not give yogic breath work a try? It just might be the key to unlocking inner peace and relaxation that you've been searching for.
Interested in one of these styles of breath work? Let us know and share your experiences! You can find us on Youtube @TheSeasonofAnya !