You take a breath in. Then, your mouth opens and an audible “sigh” explodes from the very core of your being. “Aaaah”… 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 the energy that is necessary for thinking and acting.
The deeper the in-breath, the more oxygen, nutrients and healing prana 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.
Now, to access this powerful elixir of health.
- First, become aware of your breath
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 gently closed as this warms 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 the breath as it 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 some moments.
- Second, learn to deepen your breath
Now, draw the breath into the deepest part of your lungs by consciously pushing the belly outward on your in-breath.
As you continue with this same in-breathe, expand your rib cage front, sides and back.
Continue to breath in and raise and expand the chest.
You effort to expand each part sequentially.
Then, exhale and release the entire torso allowing yourself to relax into the space.
At the end of the exhale, pull the navel in and up slightly.
Try 7 rounds.
- Find the pauses (if you are pregnant or have other contraindications for breath holding, do not retain for more than a brief pause)
Breath 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 for a moment (3 counts if possible)
Now, exhale for a slow 3 counts
Maintaining the air out, pause for a moment (3 counts if possible)
Repeat for 7 rounds.
Over time, you can increase the ratio to 4 counts, 5 counts, 6 counts as well as the number of rounds from 7 to 14 and on. Do not rush the counts, however. Patience and persistence are key. Small amounts daily 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 and with awareness, deepen it (adding in the pauses when you are ready).
If ya do what ya always do, you’ll get what you always got. If ya don’t like what you got, do something differently… like conscious deep breathing.