KEEP CALM AND BREATHE !

Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on KEEP CALM AND BREATHE !

Importance of Breathing in Yoga

Importance of Breathing in Yoga. PC: Matilde Zacchigna

Air is one of the essential factors required for survival. We identify breath with life. While we cannot deny the importance of breath, our yogis have given us yet another perspective of “breathing”. Their introspection revealed how the quality of breath is an important indicator of a person’s mental and physical health. It is an amazing science and truly captivating.

BREATH AS A CONNECTING MEDIUM

According to our yogis, breath is a medium that connects the physical body with the mind. It therefore implies that any changes happening in our mind or in our body will reflect in our breath. To take a very common example, we all know how our breath rate becomes faster as we jog or run. Since this is pretty apparent we all know about this. But how about changes in mind getting reflected in our breath? Obviously we never paid attention to it. It is believed that as a person gets more entangled in the thoughts and exhibits anxiety or restlessness, it is reflected in shallowness of the breath over a period of time.

DEEPENING OF THE BREATH

Yogic science lays great emphasis on deep breathing. This is because our yogis understood the effect of deep breath in calming the mind. Stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression have become common problems in today’s modern world. Regular and consistent practice of deep breathing coupled with other yogic techniques can really help a person overcome such problems. The benefits of deep breathing are not only limited to the mind but also extend to the physical body. It is no surprise therefore that deep breathing exercises are also recommended for people with asthma, back problems and other chronic ailments. As the breath becomes deeper and deeper, the mind and the body heal themselves.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND CHANTING

Chanting mantras is a very common ritual in Indian tradition. But not many are aware of the science behind mantras. Chanting mantras is an excellent way to elongate and deepen the breath. Chanting the universal sound “OM” in a proper way also leads to immense benefits at the breath level and hence at the mind level. There are of course multiple other benefits attached with chanting but we will discuss them at length in our later blogs.

BREATH AND PRANA

We started our blog by acknowledging the importance of breath and the fact that life is not possible without it. In these concluding lines I am going to contradict those very statements. Yoga distinguishes between breath and prana and clarifies that it is actually prana that sustains life and not the breath. It elaborates further by saying that breath is just a carrier of prana, it carries prana from the nature to the physical body and it is that prana which gives life to one and all. And hence the term “Pranayama”. Pranayama is a form of breathing technique and is also one of the important components of yoga. Its benefits are much more than just deepening of the breath.

As I write these lines a lot of questions pop up in my mind as well. If breath is not needed then is life possible without breathing? Is there a way one can get prana without breathing? And after all what is prana? As I continue my yogic journey I hope to not only find but also experience first-hand the answer to these questions. Till then I would keep calm and breathe !

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