We recently went to see the movie Avatar: The Way of Water and, without giving away any spoilers, there’s a scene in it which focuses on breathing.
Tsireya of the Metkayina clan teaches Lo’ak a technique to slow and deepen his breathing.
Courtesy of YouTube/20th Century Studios
It’s based on an actual yoga breathing technique called Dirgha Pranayama or the three-part breath.
Maybe I’m just noticing it more now, but increasingly I’m seeing meditation and breathwork appearing in blockbuster movies.
In Thor: Love and Thunder we encounter the God of Thunder on a quest for inner peace and meditating. He later discusses meditation with his love interest Jane Foster – who (unfortunately) dismisses it as ‘boring’!
The actor who plays Thor, Chris Hemsworth, is well-known for practicing and promoting meditation. He’s narrated many meditations himself and actually offers a Learn to Meditate seven-day series through Centr, his fitness and wellness app.
In Star Wars we see Luke Skywalker meditating in The Last Jedi. In fact there’s a lot that’s been written about Buddhist themes in the Star Wars franchise (just do a quick search and you’ll see).
But back to Avatar.
Writing in The Guardian, Rupert Read, an Associate Professor of philosophy at the University of East Anglia in the UK, says there’s a lot we can learn from the movie. But I particulary liked this comment:
The Way of Water includes repeated teaching on breathing techniques and meditation, teachings that, as I watched, I found myself breathing along with. Is there any other mass-audience movie that has attempted anything like this?
My only (tiny) criticism of the breathing scene is that Tsireya also says ‘let your mind go clear’, which is one of those myths about meditation!
The more we see meditation included in big movies such as these – the more ‘normalised’ it should become.
Now take a deep breath…