Structures of breathing: East Asian contributions to a phenomenology of embodiment


What is the role and structure of breathing within embodiment? The topic here is explored in a comparative, phenomenological approach. While the traditional mind-body divide and the Greek idea of an internal, disembodied psyche have been dominant in European thought, in the Chinese-Japanese cultural nexus air-like phenomena and breathing are acknowledged as essential aspects of human experiences. The aim of this paper is presenting a first sketch of such a pheno­meno­logy of breathing through premodern and modern non-Western (mostly Japanese) sources, ultimately showing how such an aesthetic attunement to the breathing body was a central element of Homeric sensibility as well.