BREATH IS LIFE
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our breath represents both states of our being. It is gross and subtle at once: The gross, physical breath provides us with oxygen and the subtle life force of the body and mind is called Prana.
The breath is a precious tool of awareness, because we cannot breathe in the past, nor in the future, the breath will always bring us back to the very moment – to the present. The Prana of the breath is probably the holiest energy within us, it directly connects us to the divine part of our being – our souls. When our lungs fill themselves for the first time with the air of the universe, we call it birth. When the breath leaves our body with the soul, we call it death. Everything changes between these two points in time, nothing remains the same, only breathing is a constant thing between birth and death.
I imagine the breath like a bridge between the conscious and subconscious. By manipulating it with breath control I not only manage to calm my mind, I can access my subconsciousness in a very subtle way and eventually reprogram my habits.
Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe.
The body is just the universe which has come to you, which is nearer to you.”
The science of breath in Yoga terms is called: Pranayama. It describes the control of the movement of prana (life energy) through the use of breathing techniques. The Kundalini Yogi*ni varies with rhythm and depth of the breath to effect and manage different energy states of health, consciousness, and emotion.
Prana = the life force
Pran = first unit
Ayam = expansion
The yogis of the ancient times knew that once we are born we get a certain amount of breaths to be used in a lifespan. While observing animals, they realised that the animals that breathe less, live longer. Like turtles, elephants or snakes. So the Yogis started to manipulate their breaths to the benefit of longevity.
These ancient breathing techniques still work in our post-modern age. I even think they are more helpful than ever because the extent of distractions we are facing nowadays are overwhelming from every perspective. With breath control we have a priceless opportunity to ease our minds.
With pranayama we expand the first unit, the seed energy. A slight change in this seed vibration can change our entire universe. Pranayam is energy management.
The mind follows the breath. The key to controlling the mind is in controlling the breath.
According to the yogic philosophy: If you manage to breathe long and deeply you can save some precious in- and exhalations and therefore prolong your life. Long and Deep Breathing is one of the most important Pranayama, so let us look at it a bit closer:
LONG AND DEEP BREATHING
Long Deep Breathing uses the full capacity of the lungs, by utilising the three chambers of the lungs:
Abdominal or lower part
Chest or middle
Clavicular or upper part of the lungs
INHALATION AND EXHALATION
Long Deep Breathing starts by filling the abdomen, then expanding the chest, and finally lifting the upper ribs and clavicle. The exhale is the reverse: first the upper deflates, then the middle and finally the abdomen pulls in as the Navel Point pulls back toward the spine.
Sit straight or lay down on the back if you are new to Long Deep Breathing. You can place one hand on the belly and one on the chest area in order to feel and control better how the breath is flowing.
Begin the inhalation like an Abdominal Breath. Take a slow deep breath by letting the belly relax and expand. Then inhaling into the chest by using the intercostal muscles between the ribs. Do this slowly and focus on the sensation of expansion and continue the deep inhalation slowly by expanding the shoulders and the collarbone.
Start the exhalation by relaxing the clavicle, exhale as you keep the chest lifted, then slowly empty the chest. Finally, pull in the abdomen to force out any remaining air. Make sure that you exhale all the remaining air from your belly. Inhalation and exhalation eventually are done in a smooth motion.
BENEFITS OF LONG AND DEEP BREATHING
Relaxes and calms due to the influence on parasympathetic nervous system.
Increases the flow of Prana
Reduces and prevents the build-up of toxins in the lungs by encouraging the clearing of the small air sacs (alveoli)
Stimulates the brain chemicals endorphins that help fight depression
Brings the brain to a new level of alertness
Breathing long and deep, plus concentration, stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete, enhancing the intuition
Filling the lungs to capacity revitalizes and re-adjusts the magnetic field
Cleanses the blood
Regulates the bodys pH (acid-akaline balance), which affects the ability to handle stressful situations
Energizes, and increases vitality
Activates and clears the nerve channels
Aids in speeding up emotional and physical healing
Aids in breaking subconscious habit patterns such as insecurities and fears
Aids in fighting addictions
Gives capacity to manage negativity and emotions, supporting clarity, cool-headedness, and patience
If you have questions how to perform long deep breathing, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Long Deep Breathing according to Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher Text Book, 2020 6th Edition
The instructions and advice given on the blog and/or during classes are not a substitute for professional medical or psychological treatment of ailments. The information and exercises have been carefully considered and reviewed, however its application is at your own discretion and responsibility. As with all unsupervised practice your use of the instructions on this website is taken on your own risk. Results regarding benefits do vary according to physical differences, correctness and frequency of the practice. If you have an injury or illness and are in doubt as to whether yoga is suitable for you, please consult your doctor/health practitioner.