The Power of Dolphin Breathing

I spent time with a wild Bottlenose Dolphin who frequented the harbor of a small village in the West of Ireland. She would sometimes come close to the concrete steps that lead from the pier straight down into the sea. On days when the splash of the swell coming in from the Atlantic wasn’t too rough I would take off my shoes, roll up my pant legs and wade into the very cold water for a chance to connect with her.

As she got to know me she would swing in close to the sea wall and I would lean down over the water holding on to the handrail. For a time she was in the habit of exhaling loudly, forcing air from her blowhole while still on the surface when she was directly in front of me. Once she blew air out straight into my face. I kept having the intuition that she was trying to teach me about the importance of breathing.

Almost every spiritual teacher throughout time has pointed to the breath as a way to connect more fully with Source or the Oneness. It’s also thought that our breath carries the animating force of life, known by different names as spirit, chi, prana or energy. There is substantial evidence that we can use our breath to improve our physical and emotional health. Harvard trained medical doctor Andrew Weil states that “practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”

Dolphins and whales are conscious breathers, they make the decision to take each and every breath. The ability to breathe isn’t an automatic function the way it is in humans. Dolphins and whale don’t go unconscious when they sleep. They shut down half of their brain at a time so that they are still able to breathe when they need to..

My dolphin friend certainly made me more aware of the power of breathing to relax and center myself in my body and be more present in the moment. Try it now. Take a deep breath all the way down into your belly and force the air out with a deep sigh. See if your body isn’t more relaxed after that one deep breath. Try it again. Do this before you start work on a creative project, have to make an important decision, need to feel more peace or just want to be more present for yourself and others. Play with it. Imagine you have a dolphin as your breath coach.

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2 Responses »

  1. How wonderful to ‘find’ you Suzanne. I spent a week touring Ireland in August 2004 with a dear friend from New Zealand, who’s grandfather had emigrated from there. We visited the dolphin in Dingle too – what a magical place! And I adored Ireland, I can so see why you do. My friend was searching for her people, and she found some distant relations which was heartwarming. The amusing thing for me was that my surname was popular in many counties – maybe I have some roots there too?
    Sandra 🙂


    suzanne Reply:

    Sandra, Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you could really feel the spirit of Ireland which is very old. Cheers, Suzanne


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