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Daily Connect: Breathing is Good For You (Science Says So)

File this under: "Fairly-obvious-but-pretty-cool-anyway": According to a big NPR story making the rounds, breathing, and focusing on your breath, is really good for you. Check it out. I am quite happy that the health benefits and positive psychological impact of very basic meditation practice continue to be verified, both scientifically and empirically.




At the same time, I am reminded of something my awesome Buddhist teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has been known about scientific studies supporting the health benefits of meditation practice. To paraphrase him: "Sure, meditators have know for thousands of years how much this stuff works, but now that Harvard or some other institution says the same thing, suddenly it's a big deal." I don't think Rinpoche is saying that Harvard's opinion is somehow not important (he studied at Oxford, after all), or that science and Buddhism shouldn't come together (see Buddha's Brain) but rather that we are often obsessed with statistics and data, rather than the more telling sphere of personal experience to verify what is good for us and what simply isn't.

At the end of the day, the reason someone goes deep into practice is because they see it working for them. The benefits are deep, subtle, and personal. Subjective, experiential verification is the best way to know. The best reason to commit to practice is because it helps you, and helps others, too, and there's really no need for data to verify that. However, there is a need for good promotional and communication skills to spread the word about how these practices lead to happiness and peace.

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(deep breath)..YES! : )

thanks for posting this, Ethan.

what you said, "The benefits are deep, subtle, and personal"  is perfect...that being said, i just got back from the doctor and seeing my nice cool heart rate and super great blood pressure gave me happiness and some more gratitude for my practice  : )

much happiness and peace ~ j

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