You take a breath in. Then, your mouth opens and, an audible "sigh" explodes from the very core of your being. "Ah... refreshing". Refreshing indeed. Did you know that you can do more for your health by consciously and deeply breathing than almost anything else?
In yoga philosophy, it is held that as the breath goes, so the emotions go. And, as the emotions go, so the behavior goes. It is taught that the breath is the bridge ‘yoking’ the body and mind.
That “Breath is Life”, is not a new revelation. But, that a single breath consciously and deeply taken can increase well-being so profoundly... well, that is huge.
When you engage in a deep breath, you draw in more oxygen and prana -- that which enlivens all things, and force out more carbon dioxide and disease producing toxins.
So as oxygen binds to the red blood cells on the in-breath, taking in nutrition for life sustaining processes, the prana also enters the central nervous system and saturates the etheric (subtle) body with life sustaining energy that is used in thinking and acting.
The deeper the in-breath, the more oxygen, nutrients and healing prana can be taken in and utilized. The cells are, in effect, bathed in ‘yummy goodness’.
And, with a deepened out-breath, the toxins are finally cleared out along with other energy blockages that lie in the etheric body.
This helps you to have more energy, vitality, and clarity. You are better prepared to resist infection, and to feel better overall. You can show up for life brilliantly, with enthusiasm, skill, and an improved sense of equanimity and ease.
So how do you access this powerful elixir of good health?
1. First, become aware of your breath -- pranavidya.
Sit or lay with the spine straight, and bring your attention to your breath as it moves into and out of your nostrils (always breathe through the nose with your mouth closed, as this heats the air and cleanses the breath before it reaches the lungs).
Now, watch as the breath moves to the back of the throat and out again.
Continue sequentially watching as the breath moves deeper along the respiratory tract into and out of each part, finally reaching the lungs.
Watch your whole body breathe.
Stay with this for a few moments.
2. Second, learn to deepen your breath -- complete yogic breath.
Now, draw the breath into your belly as you consciously push it outward.
Continue to breathe in lifting the ribs in the front, sides, and back.
Finally, lifting the chest.
You effort to expand each part outward sequentially.
Now, exhale and release the breath completely allowing the torso to relax.
At the end of your exhalation, pull the navel slightly in and up.
Try 7 rounds.
3. Find the pauses...
Breathe as described in #2 above only this time, inhale for a slow 3 count (counting 1-1,000, 2-1,000, 3-1,000).
Maintaining the air in, pause 3 counts.
Now, exhale for 3 counts.
Maintaining the air out, pause again for those same slow 3 counts.
Repeat 7, 14, or 21 rounds and if available, increase the slow count to 4, then 5 and even up to 6 and beyond. Do not rush the counts, however. Patience and persistence are key. Small amounts on a daily basis bring the best results.
If you want to feel, look and be better, just breathe better. Take some time each day to watch your breath, and then, systematically with awareness, deepen it adding in the pauses when you are ready.
If ya do what ya always do, you’ll get what ya always got. If you don’t like what ya got, do something differently... like conscious, deeper breathing!