The Inspirational Breath

Many people ask me how they can be more inspirational or can experience more inspirations. The answer is perhaps surprising as it doesn’t lie being more intelligent or studying. It involves doing something we all do every day, without thinking about it, and that’s to breathe.

Of course, this is quite handy as we all breathe anyway to stay alive.

What brought me to this realisation was some research I did around the actual word, inspiration. Our words and our sayings give away much about their true semantics.

If you look up the word inspiration say at, you will see the following definitions:

1. an inspiring or animating action or influence:
2. something inspired, as an idea.
3. a result of inspired activity.
4. a thing or person that inspires.
5. Theology.
a. a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
b. the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
6. the drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation.

The first four you will probably have expected but it’s maybe a surprise to see that there is a theological connotation for inspiration. The last definition is one that most people don’t think of even though it’s perhaps fairly obvious. Inspiration is of course one half of the respiration process.

Further insight comes from looking at its etymology, or root meaning. You find that the word ‘inspiration’ is comprised of the word “in” and the Latin “spirare”which meant “to breathe”.

Now I was aware we speak on the out breath. Could it be that ideas come to us on the in breath? I did some more research and found that Eastern mystical practices such as Taoism use breathing exercises in meditation to both balance Yin and Yang energies and encourage the connection to the divine.

Whole Brain Breathing

Now our neurons don’t store any oxygen but they need oxygen in order to function. So guess what? If you increase your depth of breathing by really using your diaphragm, your brain gets more oxygenated.

Now you don’t have to do this all day but it’s a great thing to do as you get up and when you need an shot of inspiration – for example, if you flag in the afternoon.

Here’s the sequence to follow:

1. Place your hands on your belly so your fingers tips on your left and right hands are touching

2. Now breath in so your belly really expands and your finger tips separate

3. Next breath out fully with your out breath being about 3 to 4 times longer than the in breath – and then your fingers touch again

4. Repeat this nine times

5. If you want to get a bit fancy, on one breath, imagine the oxygen filling your left brain and on the next, the right – alternate this sequence and see if you can work up to 18 breaths in this way

If you would you like to learn more about these techniques, make sure you get a copy of Tom’s new book to find out where ideas really come from and how you can make sure yours actually happen …

The Art and Science of Light Bulb Moments

Related blogs:

Getting in the Zone

Whole Brain Thinking

Cross Crawling

Mapping your Mind

Food for Thought

Which side are you on?