To observe the unhindered flow of breath within and without my body, is not just to observe the flow of energy at the nexus of being as I experience it, but it is also a moment of vital creativity. Cultivating the ability to be a silent and concentrated witness of my natural flow of breath is to allow the rhythm of life-force to author moments in my everyday life. This letting go in the presence of being is a freeing up of the boundaries and blockages that hinder my expression, my knowing, my reflection. This letting go is a practice of everyday life, when my feet touch the floor in certain silence and I am present, here – grounded within and connected by breath without. Each moment experienced in this way cascades into a greater moment, a rupture in life that allows vital creativity to flow throughout. This is my practice of yoga. This is my being,
creating and connecting: transcendent and interscendent.
In early Arabic poetry and philosophy the word nafs means ‘self’ or ‘soul’. Commonly connected to the word ruh, meaning ‘breath’ or ‘wind’, nafs is regarded as the dynamic power breathed into a person’s body at the beginning of life. This is the moment of ultimate creativity and vitality. The first breath remains within us and is the soul and reality of human being.
Nafs and ruh have been fused together over time to produce the term nafas, which is understood in contemporary Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Malay and Indonesian as ‘breath’ or ‘breathing’. The word has multiple interpretations and colloquial meanings including that of a ‘second wind’ or ability to endure difficulties, and a particular flare or adept skill for an activity one does with personal style. In Sufism, the mystical current of Islam, nafas denotes a sense of ‘freedom’.
The free breath of creative being.