In te ao Māori (the Māori world), breath, known as "hā," is profoundly significant and intertwined with creation stories and the essence of life. According to Māori mythology, Tane Mahuta, the God of the Forest, breathed life into Hineahuone, the first woman, shaping her from sacred earth. It was IO, who gave the breath to Tane Mahuta.
The Māori expression "tihei mauri ora" translates to "the sneeze of life" and signifies breath as the source of vitality and life force. This act symbolises the sacredness and divine connection associated with breath and divinity. When I consciously make an effort to breathe, I imagine I am connecting to IO. I am calling upon an unseen power to help me not only regulate my tinana (body) and hinengaro (mind), but also to help me see my potential and purpose in this world. The hā helps me to be present and get glimpses of who I truly am. The more I connect to the hā, the more I start seeing my unlimited potential. The layers of conditioning and limiting beliefs start falling away and I find the strength to take action toward those desires that may seem scary, but are for the higher good.
The act of breathing requires trust in an invisible process. We rely on a natural rhythm, inhaling and exhaling without conscious control. We can't see the air we breathe, but we know it is giving us energy and life. This serves as a metaphor for trusting in the unseen aspects of life and being open to potential assistance and support beyond our senses. Our tipuna (ancestors) are waiting for us to reach out and ask for assistance, we just need to do our part and ask. Connect with the hā, connect with wairua. And always remember, breathing transcends a mere physical process!!
While science supports the benefits of breathing for our body and our mind, from an indigenous and Māori worldview, hā also represents a connection to the divine and a recognition of a higher power beyond our conscious awareness. Develop a daily breathing practice, if you need assistance and a reminder to do this, learn more about our Hā Tools here. Arohanui.xx
Hā Habit Founder | Julia Wikeepa