Our breath, our inner wind, keeps us alive. I learned from Reb Zalman and from Rabbi Arthur Waskow, that the divine name YHWH represents the breath of life. The sounds of our breath are the very sounds of that sacred unpronounceable name. God is as close as our breath. Although there are many powerful breathing exercises, we don’t really need to be fancy. Breathing is itself a moment-to-moment miracle. Just to stop and breathe with awareness can instantly center us, reduce stress, and connect us to our souls.
Ruach and Neshamah are both different aspects and names of the breath and soul. The two words are often paralleled in the Bible, as it says in the book of Job: “The spirit (ruach) of God has made me, and the breath of (nishmat) the Almighty has given me life.” (Job 33:4) In some Kabbalistic teachings, Ruach is the emotional spirit, and Neshamah is the intellectual soul.
Rabbi Alan Lew, of blessed memory, taught about bringing mindfulness to breath.
Take some time now, just to breath.