5 spiritual meanings when you aren’t able to breathe

It can be a scary sensation when you aren’t able to breathe, but do you know this has a spiritual meaning?

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to not being able to catch your breath.

Let’s look at five reasons for this.

1) You aren’t able to connect to the spirit world

Breathing comes naturally to us: we take our first breath when we’re born with no guidance.

It’s an effortless action for our species and essential for keeping us alive, yet it’s something we sometimes take for granted.

Generally speaking, we don’t take the time to honor and respect our breath.

Simply put: we often don’t think about the power of our breath and how we can connect to the spirit world through it.

There are so many amazing things we can do with our breath, and it’s free and totally our control. For example, the Daily Guardian explains:

“At a spiritual level the breath of mind relates to the quality of our thoughts and therefore our experience of life. Inhale positive and powerful energy, and breathe in love and peace. As we generate those high-vibration thoughts, we are more easily able to exhale and expel negative and stressful thoughts and emotions.”

We can use our breath to change our moods and to let go of the things that no longer serve us, actually changing our physiology.

How amazing is that?

If you’re currently struggling to breathe, it might feel like this state is a way off.

Can you not catch your breath? If it is not because of a medical condition, you need to look at the spiritual message within it.

Personally, I believe there is always a spiritual reason behind our physical and mental manifestations.

In my experience, when I’ve not been able to inhale fully and I’ve had a shortness of breath, it’s been during times when I’ve been disconnected from my body. I’ve taken this cue as my spirit’s signal for literally saying: ‘come back home’.

This signal has happened in the times I’ve consciously pressed ‘disconnect’ for a period and I’ve said it’s alright to put toxins in my body to literally numb the pain.

During the times I’ve pressed that button, I’ve mistreated my body through the negative thoughts that have swirled within me, the tobacco I’ve smoked and the junk foods that haven’t nourished me.

Simply put: I’ve created a toxic environment in these times I’ve disconnected from the spirit world. All along I’ve known it to be wrong and damaging, and I’ve been hard on myself for my actions.

Now: if I was connected to the spirit world and keeping up with my spiritual practice, I know that my approach would not have been to choose toxins.

I would’ve made healthy decisions that were spirituality nourishing and not numbing me from sitting with the pain.

It’s true: when I’m in the flow with my spiritual practices – whether that’s listening to a breathwork workshop, journaling and spending time in nature – the last thing I want to do is harm my body.

Instead, what I enjoy doing most is taking a big, deep breath and relaxing into the moment.

This leads on to my second point…

2) You are not present in the moment

Sure, we take around 25,000 breaths a day, so I’m not suggesting you consciously take every single breath as that would mean it becomes your sole focus.

That’s not realistic.

However, I would encourage this sort of breathwork practice for a portion of your day, every day.

It could be for five, ten or thirty minutes.

Trust me, it will be a game-changer. It will allow you to arrive at the present moment, and to fully be with yourself and your breath.

Ask yourself: when was the last time you breathed intentionally? If you don’t remember but you’ve been struggling to breathe recently, it could be a sign that you are not being present enough with everyday moments.

But I get it, learning how to breathe intentionally can be hard, especially if you’ve never done this before.

If that’s the case, I highly recommend watching this free breathwork video, created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê.

Rudá isn’t another self-professed life coach. Through shamanism and his own life journey, he’s created a modern-day twist to ancient healing techniques.

The exercises in his invigorating video combine years of breathwork experience and ancient shamanic beliefs, designed to help you relax and check in with your body and soul.

After many years of suppressing my emotions, Rudá’s dynamic breathwork flow quite literally revived that connection.

And that’s what you need:

A spark to reconnect you with your feelings so that you can begin focusing on the most important relationship of all – the one you have with yourself.

So if you’re ready to say goodbye to anxiety and stress, check out his genuine advice below.

Click here to watch the free video.

Why breathe deeply? Author Frederic Brussat for Spirituality Practice writes:

“For those who breathe deeply, the tensions in the body are released naturally. Here is a drug-free antidote to stress, depression, insomnia, and trauma-induced emotions and behaviors. For those who breathe shallowly, the stress and anxieties of work and everyday life are locked into the places in the body that don’t move as we breathe.”

Breathing intentionally literally allows your body to function at its optimal. Consider following an exercise session (where you’ll flood the body with oxygen as you breathe deeply) with Rudá’s free breathwork video.

Now: if you’re someone who thinks all of this ‘be present’ stuff is overrated, I suggest you also pick up a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now and learn about his everyday mindfulness philosophies that will bring you to the present moment.

Some of the quotes in that book really stood out to me and I use them as affirmations for bringing me to the present moment. I particularly like:

“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”

Use that to anchor you to the moment, even when your mind wants to run away.

3) It’s a sign you’re not comfortable with life

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If your breathing is shallow and restricted, it could be a spiritual sign that you’re not comfortable with life.

Start with asking yourself the frank question: am I comfortable with my life?

You could also ask yourself: what would make me comfortable in life?

Look closely at your answers – if you’ve acknowledged you’re not comfortable with life, look at what it is that’s making you so uncomfortable and what you hope life would be like.

Journal these thoughts and date the entry, so you can reflect on it in the future and see how far you’ve come.

Now: getting comfortable with life requires you to be in the present moment, which I spoke about earlier.

It means you stop fantasizing about the future and living in the past, instead accepting what is right now.

Sure, it’s a positive action to make goals for the future that you want to work towards, but don’t spend your everyday feeling miserable with your current circumstances.

If you do, over time you’re going to spiral into negativity.

Instead, be happily discontent.

Now: I know what it’s like living in this space of not really being very comfortable with life as it is.

You see, if I’m really honest, I’m not all that comfortable with life at the moment.

I’m trying my best to pull myself out of it as I know it’s just creating a bigger problem and meaning I’m attracting more of the stuff I don’t want towards me.

I follow the idea of the Law of Attraction, so I’m conscious of not focusing on all of the bad.

But it’s difficult at times when you’re not comfortable with life… This is my reality.

I’ll tell you my personal story:

From the outside, it may seem like I have loads of freedom to move about and travel (which I love doing), I’m not tied to a rent contract and I’m able to earn remotely, plus I’m in a new, exciting relationship.

These things are all true and I’m so grateful for them. My circumstances, when I look at them like that, are awesome.

Yet, on the other hand, I find myself focusing on the negatives, such as living back at home with  my mum when I’m in my late twenties and being away from my social circle. I wish for my independence in my own living space and the opportunity to catch up with like-minded people my age.

I recognize that my thoughts veer to the lack and all of the things I don’t have but wish I want.

Even though there’s a list of so many amazing things in my life, they’re overshadowed with the perceived lack.

It becomes my fixation and I seem to spiral into negativity.

For some reason, I seem to lose perspective. Not only is it a lack of perspective on all of the positives in my life, but also the sequence of events that led me here and the change I’ve been there.

I ended a long-term relationship, packed up my stuff and moved back to my mum’s, while simultaneously starting a new course and changing my working week structure.

I went through massive change at once, and it wasn’t all that long ago!

I also seem to lose sight that I’m setting things in motion and working towards them, with the intention of having my own space again in the future. I’m not living in my childhood bedroom forever!

Even though I know the key to being satisfied is all about perspective – and training your mind to focus on the positives – I can still find myself in this space of feeling very uncomfortable and unhappy very quickly.

I almost feed myself a false story that sends me into a spiral. I think about what others think about me, when I’m probably not even crossing their mind! If I do, it’s likely that I’m off just having fun –travelling and very in love.

So what I’m doing to deal with this is breathing deeply and accepting what is, when there are things I can’t change at this very moment.

It’s an act of surrendering.

Breathing deeply helps me remember there is so much goodness in my life – exactly as it is.

I could go further and think: Hey! It’s a miracle that I’m here and breathing in the first place.

By now, you know that I have goals I’m working towards and I see the need for holding a vision for the future. But what’s equally as important is being totally accepting of the present moment to allow you to get comfortable.

If you resist, you’ll only create resistance in the body, which results in pain and turmoil.

I’d like to share another quote by Eckhart Tolle from his book, The Power of Now:

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.”

What does this mean for you?

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with life, you have options that will shift you from that place.

And the best bit?

It’s all possible from a simple mindset shift by you, through the power of breathing deeply and committing to your spiritual practice.

There is something I have to say on the topic of spiritual practices though:

When it comes to your personal spiritual journey, which toxic habits have you unknowingly picked up?

Is it the need to be positive all the time? Is it a sense of superiority over those who lack spiritual awareness?

Even well-meaning gurus and experts can get it wrong.

The result is that you end up achieving the opposite of what you’re searching for. You do more to harm yourself than to heal.

You may even hurt those around you.

In this eye-opening video, the shaman Rudá Iandé explains how so many of us fall into the toxic spirituality trap. He himself went through a similar experience at the start of his journey.

As he mentions in the video, spirituality should be about empowering yourself. Not suppressing emotions, not judging others, but forming a pure connection with who you are at your core.

If this is what you’d like to achieve, click here to watch the free video.

Even if you’re well into your spiritual journey, it’s never too late to unlearn the myths you’ve bought for truth!

4) You need to support someone overcome difficult circumstances

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I can sometimes find myself short of breath when I start thinking about the amount of problems people around me are dealing with.

This can be to do with friends or family.

For example, when I think about the struggles my mum is going through financially – with a divorce settlement on the horizon and so much crap in her life – I can feel a shift in myself.

Even though it’s not happening to me, my body feels tight and restricted.

It’s almost like I feel how shallow my breath is – just breathing from the top of my chest and not my full body.

It’s the anxiety that causes the shallow breathing.

Spiritually, this sort of restricted breathing can be a sign that this person needs your support. It could be interpreted as almost as though you’re embodying the anxiety they’re feeling.

If you’ve experienced something similar, it could be a sign that you need to support someone close to you.

Take to your journal and document your feelings to help you get clarity on the situation and reach out to that person.

Now that I understand the power of breathwork, and its ability to help you overcome stress and get a handle on anxiety, I make a point of taking a really deep, intentional breath when I catch the shortness.

This allows me to come back into my body and back to myself from my monkey mind, going at 100mph.

You should do the same.

Simply put: don’t you think it’s amazing what the breath can do for the body?

Crystal Goh at Mindful explains the breath is actually like your brain’s remote control:

“So taking a breath in through our nose can control our brain signals and lead to improved emotional and memory processing, but what about the out-breath? As mentioned earlier, slow, steady breathing activates the calming part of our nervous system, and slows our heart rate, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.”

Think about it: we have this free tool at our disposal to help us live comfortably and at peace. All we need to do is learn how to make the most out of it!

5) You’re unwilling to break free from your comfort zone

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Do you feel like you want to make masses of changes in your life, but you’re terrified at the idea of change?

Ask yourself honestly.

Don’t feel bad about the answer if the truth is you’re paralsyed by fear.

That’s a very normal human response, given that we’re hardwired to avoid suffering and pain, with a very primal goal of simply staying alive.

In my experience, it takes a while to build up the courage to break free from the perceived comfort zone.

Last spring, I remember telling someone I wanted to radically change my life – that I wasn’t completely happy and I wanted everything to be different.

I literally said: ‘I want to change everything’.

At the time, I was struggling to catch my breath as I grappled with this change I needed to make.

This went on for some time: it wasn’t until the end of summer that I actually made the decision to leave my relationship, move out of the area and shake up the way I worked.

Now: the best (and arguably, at times, worse) thing about the era we live in is the amount of information we have access to.

I say this because I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to tune into so many great workshops, podcasts and buy books on personal development that talk about the idea of the comfort zone.

I’m grateful because these resources have encouraged me to leap blinding with the faith that goodness is on the other side of courage.

There are numerous quotes that I’ve returned to time and time again, that have helped me find the courage I needed to jump:

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.” – Brene Brown

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“The hardest thing to do is leaving your comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to live the life you dream about.” – T.Arigo

“By leaving your comfort zone behind and taking a leap of faith into something new,  you find out who you are truly capable of becoming.” – Anonymous

I suggest you write these down and use them as affirmations if you recognize that you’re unwilling to break free from your comfort zone – yet you know it’s time to.

Take the leap and find your personal power!

Begin with yourself. Stop searching for external fixes to sort out your life, deep down, you know this isn’t working.

And that’s because until you look within and unleash your personal power, you’ll never find the satisfaction and fulfillment you’re searching for.

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. His life mission is to help people restore balance to their lives and unlock their creativity and potential. He has an incredible approach that combines ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist.

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains effective methods to break free from the comfort zone.

So if you want to build a better relationship with yourself, unlock your endless potential, and put passion at the heart of everything you do, start now by checking out his genuine advice.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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