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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

The Art of Breathing

by Jody Blubaugh


"In the end it all comes down to the art of breathing." Martha Graham


Lack of oxygen adversely affects the body on a cellular level. As with all types of physical activity (and our desire to continue living) proper breathing is important.

You may ask, "Since when is breathing an art?" The yogis believed that if you do your breathing through your mouth you are cheating yourself by not allowing the absorption of prana (energy) from the air. Following this philosophy, proper breathing would be slow, deep breathing through the nose.

The resulting supply of oxygen is essential for vitality, immune system function, ATP production, blood purification and circulation and deep relaxation needed for sleep. Bellydance teaches these quintessential methods and encourages the use of controlled breathing in such movements as lower abdominal isolations, diaphragm isolations and flutters. Proper breathing also aids us in maintaining good posture by allowing room to expand the breathing down into our abdomen. This creates spinal alignment and in turn beautiful dance position.

But to me the Art of Breathing is something more, something metaphorical. It is about allowing yourself to be. Letting go of all of the crap that is heaped upon you daily (mostly by yourself) and just being satisfied in the moment you are experiencing.

Right now stop, close your eyes, relax and do nothing else but breathe. See what I mean? The Art of Breathing makes all the difference.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Kaylyn Hoskins, Solon, Iowa.





About The Author

Jodi Blubaugh was first introduced to bellydance in college. She was taking a humanities course and her instructor assigned a semester project. The assignment was to identify an art form she had not yet experienced, learn what she could about it, and report on it at the semester's end.

Jodi wanted to learn more about bellydance but was overweight and had some serious self-esteem issues and shyness. It was a tough decision to put herself out there like that. She said, "I knew that if I was ever going to be happy with being me, there was no way I could back down from this challenge no matter how scared I was."

Jodi enrolled in a community education bellydance class. Phase one of her plan had commenced. Her task consisted of 8 weeks of bellydance classes, a recital, a performance for the humanities class, and one really thick shell to break through.

She said:

"I must have been insane. I wasn't really prepared for what would happen next. This seemingly haphazard decision would be one of the great blessings of my life. At the beginning of this journey I did not know who I was. I have now been dancing for several years and am grateful for the lessons I have learned about passion and living life to its fullest. Bellydance is still looked down on by some as being immoral, sinful or dirty. To those people I would say, you always find what you are looking for. I have only sought the joy and the grace that this dance form is. Learning to dance has played a huge part in my learning to accept myself as good enough, just the way I am. Of course this isn't the end of my journey but from my experience I have learned more of who I am. I am the breath of life. I am the infinite. I am beautiful. I am feminine. I AM THE GODDESS. There's no turning back now.

"I have been dancing for 4 years and writing my whole life. I am hoping that others like me will find the courage to do the thing that will make them happy, whether it be dancing or something else. The time has come for us to find our joy and live it!"



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