According to the Vedas, life is defined by the number of breaths we are gifted for our journey called life; not the number of years we are alive on earth. When we expand our ration of breaths, our journey ends. The ancients therefore suggest that we slow down our breathing and synchronize it with that of nature. Our breath is an essential aspect of prana, which is our principal life force. This force is the main control of the quality and longevity of our life. Prana is the breath of the soul and bridge between body and mind so conscious breathing practices can nourish our spirit and heal even our most grievous spiritual and emotional wounds.
Pranayama, which means “manifestation of ultimate cosmic energy”, is a science of breathing developed by the sages. Pranayama consists of a variety of practices. All the practices are designed to align your flow of breath with that of the universe.
Through this magical breathing technique we are able to reduce the intrusive thoughts and sensations over time. In turn helping ourselves gain a path to spiritual understanding and consciousness. Pranayama, along the lines of the yoga principle of unification of the mind and cosmos promotes our awareness of our oneness within and with the universe as a whole.
It is observed that those that have never practiced pranayama, their respiratory pattern is more likely to consist of quick, shall breaths beginning and ending in the chest. Shallow chest breathing is the hallmark of the body’s fight-or-flight stress response. This way of breathing does not allow us to take in enough oxygen to feed the lower lungs optimally. This then leads to cardiovascular and other biological systems to operate inefficiently.
We can correct this pranic deficiency through the practice of a lot of other breathing exercises that all have the basic principle of deep abdominal breathing. The most basic of these is diaphragmatic breathing while laying in shavasana or “corpse or tranquil posture” along with visualization to direct the breath.
Stop for a while and notice your breathing. Wise Earth Ayurveda invites you to notice the healing power of breath with Pranayama. We love hearing from you! Leave us your questions, comments and feedback in the comments below!