Ruth Denison in this article speaks about the delight of breathing. I give you the last two paragraphs. Ruth was the first Buddhist teacher to lead an all-women's retreat. She was a student of Charlotte Selver, and the first teacher to use movement and dance to instruct her students in mindfulness. She runs Dhamma Dena Meditation Center in the Mojave desert. She is 85. I have put in bold the words that most strike me.
Back to the breath: Breath is the food on which sensations live - on which aliveness lives. When the sensations are fed they come out of their dullness. It's not simply the air, it is the force of movement. Breath is the switch that turns on the lights of the sensations. When they come to life, they flicker and they shine, just like the stars at night. Now, you can be a romantic about it. I hate it actually. We get so quickly into these superlatives. But there is some truth in this. In traditional mindfulness practices, breath is presented as the preeminent object on which to focus our attention. For 2,600 years the Buddha's teachings - and other teachings, the Hindus were very advanced too - have been focusing their attention on breathing. Breath and sensations, these oceanic forces, hammer away at the flimsy breakwaters of our resistance. The posture of meditation turns the body into a channel or conduit through which these forces can run deeply. Breathing is a joyous and precious event, therefore. It is here for the taking, free to all of us that have a hunger for nourishment. Every breath you take could be a joyous act, a deep surrender to the mystery of life in all its potency and force. Let breath become an act of surrender to the urgency of the life force just as giving the weight of our body and mind is an act of surrender to the potent pull of gravity. You don't have to force deep and full breathing to activate an awareness of the whole body. All you need to do is surrender to this most powerful bellows. Breath wants you. Breath wants to breathe you.
Rejoice in coming to your breath and allowing it to touch you all the way through. When it is not interfered with a thought or any comment, when it is left alone in its natural rhythm, then you are in good hands, and you are sure to attain and actualize the dream of your lifetime.