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Breath and the River: Say Yes To The River

by Sue-me Gregory(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 47 - December 1999


"The rhythm of your breath is the key of knowledge and cleanses all that is unclean" –
Master Jesus from the Essenes.

Breath is the essence of life – Physiologically we know breath as that which provides oxygen to the lungs which in turn oxygenates the blood. However, we can literally buy oxygen, available in numerous forms off the shelf. Widely obtainable are oxygenated water, oxygenated powders, oxygenated tablets and capsules, all designed with the intent to enhance our general well being by lessening the onslaught of pollution that is threatening to engulf all life forms.

The general belief is that these products are a marginal substitute for poor breathing patterns which result in increasingly poor mental, physical and emotional health, and spiritual death.

Igniting the fire/energy in our centres with breath/oxygen radiating the essence of pure light/life

Igniting the fire/energy in our centres with breath/oxygen radiating the essence of pure light/life

Baby mirrors relaxation and peacefulness to perfection, breathing deeply into the tummy

Baby mirrors relaxation and peacefulness to perfection, breathing deeply into the tummy

Mind the Gap

It is not merely oxygen which sustains life through the breathing of air. The Essence of Life, also known as Prana, Chi, Ki, Vitality or Holy Spirit, rides on the wings of breath. This life force is only obtainable through the conscious deep breathing that is instrumental in balancing and centering the human force. This life force is not available in a bottle or a capsule and without this Essence there is no vitality. Most people breathe only as far/deep as the upper chest, almost in line with their shoulders.

Much research throughout the history of humanity has been done in the field of oxygen and breath. Innumerable techniques, exercises, workshops and courses have been developed and written about through the centuries to aid us in becoming centered and balanced persons. This quest has not ceased. The key to permanent and natural health, balance and therefore planetary peace appears not yet to have been found. Most of the current workshops or techniques and some of the ancient teachings offer serenity perhaps for a number of days, hours or minutes, but none are lasting.

When you entered the earth plane, was there anyone awaiting your arrival to instruct you as to how you should breathe? How you should sit, walk, stand, talk, and when it would be desirable for you to do so? When you would be hungry, thirsty, cold, wet, tired, sleepy, playful, angry, happy, sad, excited and so on? You naturally and spontaneously knew how and when to express what you experienced in the moment. Our children and youth are constantly bombarded with suggestions and demands as to how they should or could look, sacrificing the truth of who and what they are, for oppressive, destructive and limiting demands, that ultimately lead to a misshapen society.

As a foetus in the mother's womb, the placenta, via the umbilical cord, is the source of vital nutrients and oxygen, necessary for balanced growth and the expression of the perfection that we are in essence.

Why are our umbilical cords on our belly buttons, considering that after only nine months in the womb we exit and then continue our growth and expansion being fed via our mouths and noses? Why are our umbilical cords not on our mouths or our noses, as they are where we biologically and naturally access nutrition and oxygen while living on the earth plane?

Consider the following

In which position does a baby generally lie whilst sleeping or relaxing once he or she is able to move about at will, and what happens to their little bodies whilst they are breathing?

Generally speaking babies lie on their backs with their arms and hands raised in line with, or above their shoulders, and their palms facing up, legs slightly raised and knees bent, a picture to behold. They mirror relaxation and peacefulness to perfection. The openness their bodies illustrate, demonstrates total trust in their environment and a spontaneous willingness to receive, and thereby share with others their wonderful gift of innocence, abundance and ceaseless supply of vitality and joy.

I am aware that some babies sleep on their little bellies, or curled up on their side. This is due to stress, the details of which I am not embroidering upon in this article. There are many adults that mirror this need too.

When a baby breathes his/her tummy moves up and down, and his/her pelvis rocks to and fro gently and rhythmically. Babies breathe deep down into their bellies naturally, contrary to the general belief that we ought to breathe into our lungs. We are taught to do so, irresponsibly negating the sacred laws of nature decreed for a very good reason, so beautifully and perfectly illustrated by our babies.

Babies breathe into their bellies honouring the power that is generated from within their centres, living in perfect synchronicity with the moment. Expressing spontaneously whatever their needs are in the moment. Babies have no conscious recollection of the past, have no idea of how to manipulate in order to secure future needs or ambitions.

As human beings we are designed to breathe into our bellies, contrary to the false belief that we have to breathe through our noses into our lungs. Our belly buttons have been placed in the centres of our bodies, thereby distributing all nutrients and oxygen equally throughout the body. Our minds and bodies function together in perfect harmony too. Sadly this balance is swayed once toddlers are able to communicate, and in severe instances as early as during baby hood. Fear is the key word here.

Two year olds vibrate perfection, radiate the essence of pure light, the flame of purity. They are able to communicate on all levels, utilise fully the agility of their little bodies, faithfully copying every move we make. They are the most willing little slaves, agreeing to do anything we require in exchange for our love. They are the expression of unconditional love, innocence and trust.

What about the moment?

Why do we not take care of life, which is more precious than gold, in each and every moment as we are presented with it? The very presence of the moment is the sacred gift of life itself. The most sacred aspect of life is overlooked. How to take care of the moment and stay in the moment? Few, if any realise that the moment is the key to the blueprint of peace, balance, and freedom from the past. This realisation leads to youth and immortality, the elixir sovereigns have sacrificed kingdoms for.

Whenever anyone is under duress, they hold their breath. For instance if someone frightens them, they suck in their breath and hold on to it until they relax again. Gradually, because of our exposure to so much adversity, this habit of sucking in breath and holding on to it becomes a way of life. The exodus from being centered is set in motion.

Hooked on Fear

When you are emotionally tense your muscles and then the rest of your body becomes tense, eventually this is the pattern stored in your cells' memory. Tension causes muscles to become shorter, compacted and very hard, losing their fluidity. Gradually your muscles accept the message that they need to shift shape, that they are far too long, so your muscles become contracted. The now shortened muscles in your neck are literally jamming your skull onto your shoulders, creating stress throughout your body.

Your skull, which is made up of 32 component bones, expands and contracts as you breathe in and out. Due to the restriction caused by muscles shortening, the component bones are immobilised and fuse – hence the false belief that as time progresses our heads become solid masses of bone. The natural processes of your entire body are inhibited. This creates pressure on your brain, and a dull dysfunctioning mind. The flow of cerebrospinal fluid protecting your brain and spine is hampered, resulting in horrendous headaches and back problems, adversely affecting your eyesight, ears, and nose, immobilising your jaw and creating unease when chewing, drinking and swallowing. Movement of your head becomes increasingly more difficult as your neck vertebrae become compressed, causing bones to grind on one another.

Due to habitual shallow breathing, your shoulders are permanently drawn up, resulting in your rib cage becoming concave, restricting the rhythmic movement of your lungs. The pulsation of your heart is severely handicapped, as there is no longer sufficient room for it to function robustly and 'heartily'.

Your spine is stretched to the limit, due to your shoulders being 'hooked on fear,' resulting in all manner of back problems, the most common being slipped discs in the lower back.

Like a set of dominoes the rest of your body falls into a state of collapse. The bladder, womb and prostrate are severely affected, as are the endocrine system, large and small intestines, the pelvic area, wrists, hips, knees, ankles and feet. We become crucified by distress, immobility, disease, and pain.

As an infant you had silken supple muscles and your head was extraordinarily flexible. Your body was round, soft and glowing with lustre. During young adulthood you symbolised a ripe plum, round, shiny, firm and juicy. As stress began to sound its death knell, you withered and became like a dried up old prune.

Breathing into your centre does release, and heal restrictions.

This method of breathing is not easily accomplished, as we have become conditioned to breathe through our noses and into our lungs for many generations. Limitation has become the order of the day and the memory now lies very deep in our tissues. Our entire body/mind function expresses this. However, we know that whatever we place in our mouths connects with our tummies, so when we breathe from our mouths into our bellies, body and mind can function as one.

No scalpel can lengthen muscles or straighten a bone, but breath can and does.

"At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, a complex wave of forms and resonances, which is absolutely individual and unique and yet which connects us to everything in the universe. The act of getting in touch with this place can transform our personal experience and in some way alter the world around us." –
George Leonard.


  1. Shaheeda Moosa said..


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About Sue-me Gregory

South Africa, Sue-mè Gregory is currently writing a book, based on her workshop The River. The River is a creation from a near death experience through a severe illness two and a half years ago, that turned her life around. Sue-mè teaches and practices Cranio-Sacral and Breath Work Therapy. She is also a skilled practitioner in counselling and Bach Flower Remedies You can reach Sue-mè on email:

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