It’s a space that calms you upon entering; an entire room dedicated to taking breaths in and out, connecting mind to body, and returning home to yourself. This is the concept of a breathing room, as discussed in the fourth chapter of Making Space by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Just as we have a kitchen for cooking and a bedroom for sleeping, Nhat Hanh believes that a breathing room is a necessary part of every home. It actually doesn’t even have to be an entire room – if you have limited space, even just a corner or a little portion of a room will do.
I love the idea that such a room brings with it the quality of immunity. “There needs to be an agreement in advance that everyone respects the breathing area,” Nhat Hanh says. “Once you’re in the breathing room or breathing corner, no one can shout at you anymore. You have immunity.”
Whenever you’re feeling upset, anxious, or mad… enter the breathing room and bring yourself to a state of instant peace. Even a few minutes spent in the breathing area can help ease your discomfort – and develop a better understanding of why you’re feeling that way to begin with.
At the start and end of each breathing session, it may be helpful to invite the bell, as discussed in chapter 5. You can also invite the bell during a meditation session, to help bring your thoughts to a lull and come back into the present moment.
You can keep a bell in any area of your home – especially a busy area. When there is a lot going on, anyone is welcome to invite the bell, calling everyone to pause what they’re doing and take three mindful breaths. This can really create a powerful sense of peace in the room in a matter of moments.
I keep a singing bowl in my bedroom, and I like to invite it at the end of the night, before I go to sleep. Every time I hear it, I’m reminded to slow down and connect to my breath. It’s a beautiful way to bring calmness to the body and mind before drifting off into dreamland.
+ Do any of you have a breathing space in your home? Do you invite the bell, as well?