Breath, How to Breath
How to Breath
How to breathe.
We give our children piano lessons, we eagerly encourage them to walk and talk, but how many of us train them to breathe? Did your parents teach you? The good news is that we are born with enough built-in breathing skills to keep us alive. The bad news is that until we learn to breathe consciously, we're only "half alive". We're like champion racing cars that never get out of first gear.
Some of the most profounds truths, the secrets of the universe, are contained in the most simple basic facts of life. Breathing is one of these secrets. It is so fundamental, it seems so natural and effortless, we usually take it for granted. We don't realize its tremendous significance and potential power. It is well known that you can go without food for weeks. You can survive without water for days. But a very few minutes without breath and you're dead. We all know this, so what's the point?
The point is that your entire future, you're life itself, totally depends upon whether or not you receive your next inhalation. Nothing is more important to you than that next inhalation. Yet there is absolutely no guarantee that you're going to get it. Your guaranteed life expectancy is literally only one breath! All your wealth, all your possessions, all your relationships, power, prestige, hopes, and plans are useless unless you are breathing. That is why the first principle in Kundalini Yoga is,
Each breath is given to you. "You" are not breathing, something is breathing in you. Think about it. From the moment you were born, up to this very moment in time, twenty-four hours every day, seven days a week 365 days a year no holidays, no vacations, no time off, whether you are awake or asleep, conscious or unconscious, something breathes in you, keeping you alive.
Breath is the delicate thread that links you, the creature, to the one who created this entire universe (including you and me). Each inhalation you receive is a reminder, a reaffirmation of that divine presence in you. In the Orient, it is said that when a child is born, the life span is already predetermined, premeasured, preordained, and predestined not by years, but by the number of breaths allotted. Therefore, we can conclude, and rightfully so if you breathe slower, you will live longer, You will also live healthier. A slower rate of breathing is much easier on the nervous system, metabolism, and digestion.
The rat and the rhythm of the breath are intimately connected to our mental and emotional states. In fact, just as the emotions and the mind youse the breath to vary, by consciously controlling the breath, we calm the mind and cool down our emotional energy. The average rate of breathing for most people is about fifteen times per minute. When the rate of breathing increases, or if it becomes rapid and irregular, the mind also becomes disturbed and erratic. We already know this instinctively. In a movie, when we hear someone gasping, breathing heavily, even if can't see them, we feel the tension, we assume they're upset. When we want to know if the baby is asleep, we listen for slow even breathing.
Prana and the air
Yes, breath is life, but it isn't the air we breathe that keeps us alive. It is the subtle essence of the breath, carried to us by air, that contains our life energy. This life energy is called prana. The prana that we receive with each breath is the same energy that was released when scientists split the atom. It is nothing new. For thousands of years, the yogis have worked with prana. Yogic breathing exercises are called pranayama. Prana is the basic building block of the universe. It is given to us with each inhalation. What could be more powerful? When a person dies, the body still contains air. But the prana, the divine life force, has been withdrawn.