Image: Girl blowing a bubble. Photo by AdinaVoicu / Pixabay.
Mornings are tough for me. I’m a night person by nature, jittery in the morning, and now age and arthritis have added a new edge to rising in the morning. I have written in the past about my reworking of the Asher Yatzar, the blessing for bodily function, which is one of the morning prayers. Now I’d like to look at another of the morning prayers, the one that gets me moving. Specifically, this prayer gets me breathing properly and directs my attention outside myself, which prepares me for everything else.
- The soul that You have given me, O God, is pure!
- You created and formed it, breathed it into me,
- And within me You sustain it.
- So long as I have breath, therefore,
- I will give thanks to you. – Mishkan Tefilah, p 292.
This is not the whole prayer. I say it in Hebrew, but it is fine to say it in English. The key to this prayer is that the word for soul in Hebrew, neshamah, is also the word for breath. So one can say this prayer in thanks and gratitude for breath. In fact, we can combine the words of the prayer with breath:
- Inhale during lines 1 and 2.
- Hold the breath, and appreciate it, during line 3.
- Exhale during lines 4 and 5.
- Pause for a moment, then repeat.
After a few repetitions of that prayer, I’m ready to move. I am less focused on aches and pains and energized by the oxygen in my system. My attention is outward, towards God and creation, rather than inward towards my own thoughts. I’m ready.
I wish you peaceful sleep, and an energetic awakening!