A fresh breath of life

December 14, 2008

Breath is synonymous to life. If you are breath is hot, quivery, shaky, not straight, not easy, you can predict that you will be sick. The patterns of the breath can tell you about the toxins in the body and if you have observed, you will know that it also tells when you will fall sick.

Our breath holds a lot of secrets because, for every emotion in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath. And each rhythm affects certain parts of the body, physically. For instance, we feel a sense of expansion when we are happy and a sense of contraction when miserable. Though we feel that happiness or misery and the sensation, we fail to notice the connection. So, when you cannot handle your mind directly, through breath you can handle the mind.

Have you ever counted how many times you breathe in a minute? Breathing is the first act of life and it’s the last act of life. In between, the whole life, we are breathing in and out, but not attending to the breath. Ninety percent of the impurities in the body go out through the breath because we are breathing twenty-four hours a day. However, we are using only 30% of our lung capacity. We are not breathing enough.

In one minute we breathe nearly sixteen to seventeen times. If you are upset it may go up to twenty, if you are extremely tense and angry, it could total twenty-five per minute. Ten, if you are very calm and happy; two to three breaths if you are in meditation. Deep meditation can reduce the number of breaths you take. See, the mind is like a kite and the breath, a thread. For the mind to go high the breath needs to be longer. You don’t have to take Prozac if you can attend to the breath.

Your breath gives enormous energy and it also helps in increasing the prana, the life force energy. There are four types of energy. Energy from food, energy from sleep, energy through breath, that you can learn through the exercises, techniques such as the Sudarshan Kriya which can energise every cell of the body. And then, a few moments of pleasant mind through meditation give a lot of energy. All these are important for our overall well being. We have researched into how the Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayama affect the immune system. Attending to the breath and mind can boost your immune system.

If you observe infants, you will be amazed at how balanced they breathe. They breathe from all the three sections of the body. As they breathe in their belly comes out, as they breathe out their belly moves in. But the more nervous and tensed you are, you will do the reverse. When you breathe out your tummy will come out and when you breathe in, it goes in.

I would suggest to take a week off every year for yourself. Align yourself with nature, wake up with the sunrise, do some exercise, eat good food — just as much food as necessary — some yoga, breathing exercises, a few minutes of singing and keeping silent, enjoying the creation. Aligning with nature recharges our whole system — making us vibrant and enthusiastic. And smile more in life. Don’t take things too seriously.

This is where a little knowledge about us, about our mind, our consciousness, and the root of distortion will help. Every individual is bestowed with all the virtues in the world. They simply get covered by lack of understanding. All that is needed is to just to uncover the virtues that are already there.

The writer is the founder of Art of Living

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