Breath is Your Friend

Breath is Your Friend

Ruth Cogan Rocky MountainsOne day, standing atop a mountain with the uplifting scent of Pine in the air, tuning into the drum beat of Mother Earth, and an arcane knowing stirring within me. 



It is widely known and supported that breathing correctly, with the right ratio of inhale to exhale, can reduce stress, calm your mind, and re-energize you.  When practised regularly, it can help to bring healing from diseases caused by stress.  Yet these days we are always too busy doing our modern-day stuff to use this free and easy tool to benefit and support our hard-working minds and bodies.

The breath is also a good indicator if we are stressed, as we often ignore our inner voice telling us to slow down.  If we learn to recognise rising stress levels, we can deal with it before the waves become a tsunami of fear and anxiety.  When becoming stressed, or feeling pain, you will most likely notice shallow, quick breaths or even holding your breath.  This not only activates your fight-or-flight response, but your body begins to dump stress hormones into your bloodstream like cortisol and adrenaline.  Unless burnt off immediately with a form of fast cardiovascular exercise, this creates a build-up of toxins in the body which in turn can eventually lead to inflammation and disease.  

The trouble is your body remembers an adverse response to stress and replicates it more quickly and easily next time.  So, the answer is to recognise the signs, take back control, and break the cycle.  When you breathe deeply, even in the face of the same life-circumstances that usually cause you to tense up and feel anxious, you will notice those same problems seem a thousand times more solvable.  Have you ever taken a deep breath whilst deliberating whether to react to an unkind remark or ridiculous scenario, and then been quietly pleased you didn’t react immediately when the situation subsequently diffused?  This is your system responding sympathetically to your pause, and your de-stressing breath. 

There are other times when mindful/controlled breathing is important to us, particularly in our spiritual and magical work.  When grounding and centring ourselves in preparation for a ceremony, ritual or embodiment, we want to begin by drawing our focus up into ourselves, connecting into all the energy that surrounds us for support in our working; and centring to bring us inward, relaxed, totally present, and undisturbed by thoughts and events of the day.  So, to do this effectively we need to be calm.  

There is another benefit to practising effective breathing in order to achieve a calm state in preparation for magical working, and that is in the understanding that everything which affects the body i.e., stress and toxins, also adversely affects the Pineal gland.  The Pineal gland is perceived to be the gateway between physical reality and spiritual reality, aka The Third Eye; and a well-functioning Pineal gland helps us to meditate, to expand our aura, and to move our consciousness from a Beta wave (normal everyday activity) to Alpha and Theta waves (meditation and ritual).  And that is an interesting topic for another day……  

Our beloved Bee Helygen published a great piece called ‘Breathing in Goddess’.  In it Bee talks about the importance of this very subject, and also why we ‘breathe Her energy in’.  Cerridwen’s energy, her breath, is all around us in the air of these lands, it is her essence.  

So, when we carry out our daily devotions, we take time to breathe her in, to stand before our altar soft and relaxed, to open up to Her embrace as we speak our words with our loving outbreath.  And as each sister and brother, priestess and priest of Cerridwen performs this devotion, collectively with our breath and our words we imbue the world with the power and love of our circle.

So Mote it Be! 

Breathing fresh air


Try a 5-minute de-stress

Sitting or lying down with your knees bent and hands resting on your lap or lower abdomen.  With your tongue resting against the upper palate of your mouth, take a deep inhale in through the nose.  Breathe deeply, but do not force the breath.  Then slowly exhale.  The key is to breathe out for at least twice as long as you took to breathe in.  So, if you inhale for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 10.  This will then start to naturally deepen your breathing rhythm when doing this activity regularly (rather like muscle-memory), and as a result your in-breath may lengthen to a count of 6 or 7, and likewise lengthen your out-breath.  Do not force the in-breath, instead allow a deep breath to wash over you.  Your lung capacity and ability to breathe more deeply will grow stronger with practice.  Allow your belly to expand out and up with each in-breath and relax back inwards with the out-breath.     

Regular breathing this way will reap the following rewards:

  • More lucid thoughts.
  • Even out your emotions – grief, anger, fear, frustration, anxiety, sadness, and enhance your mood.
  • Almost 70% of the toxins in your body can be released through an efficient deep breath (carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism, including cellular waste that must be metabolised).
  • Your muscles will relax.
  • Your heart rate will drop.
  • Performing this breathing exercise at the end of the working day or just before bed will encourage relaxation and a deeper, regenerative sleep. 
  • Your body stops making stress hormones, which overtax the adrenal glands leading to adrenal fatigue.
  • Your vital organs including the brain get more oxygen.
  • Your immune system is boosted because the oxygen travelling through your bloodstream attaches to haemoglobin in your red blood cells, bringing nutrients and vitamins where they are most needed.
  • You will digest your food better.
  • You will have more stamina.
  • You will feel less physical pain, because of the detox effect and focus directed to your breathing.
  • Your cells will regenerate faster. 


Ruth Llyn CoganA Priestess Healer in the Avalon tradition.

A Priestess of Goddess Cerridwen.

A Death Priestess.

A holistic therapist.

A Founder member of the Bristol Goddess Temple.  

I work consciously with the gifts of Mother Earth to support my healing, ceremonial and spiritual work, through the guidance of my teachers and held by the fellowship of my sister circles.


Ruth Llyn Cogan

Merry Meet & Blessed Be

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