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Breath – The Eternal Prana {Part-2}

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

Yoga understands human beings as ‘multi-leveled beings’. We are Body; Mind; Emotions or Experience; Energy or Soul or Consciousness. These do not interact with each other directly. Prana is the all pervading phenomenon connecting all. Breathing replenishes Prana in our body as long as we live. Then, there is an area of consciousness beyond thought and emotions; a non-conceptual level of heightened awareness which can be explored through Meditation.

Let’s understand this. Body and Mind are separate yet deeply connected. Mind is the storehouse of information based on the information and experiences collected through five senses {gyanendriya} and continuously interpreted by our Intellect or Discrimination (Vivek or Buddhi). On the basis of the interpretation, body acts as the extension of mind to perform the action. That’s why it is said in our ancient scriptures – body is the gross mind and mind is the subtle body. The Energy travels throughout in these processes. This energy is called Prana. Breath is the carrier of Prana.

There are energising effects of breath on metabolic processes of the body. Many physical aspects and activities of our body depend on the process of breathing. When we run, more oxygen is needed that means more blood needs to be oxygenated through the lungs. Similarly for mental work, our brain needs more oxygen. To make it simple, let’s see the functioning of a cell. It slowly burns the carbohydrates in mitochondria to release carbon-dioxide. Haemoglobin takes away this carbon-dioxide and brings oxygen from lungs. Increased activity of cells increases the metabolic rate requiring increased quantity of oxygen.

We don’t take breath; it happens. Nature takes breath in us. It is involuntary function of the body which is controlled by Autonomic Nervous System. In other words, through breathing one can get connected with that unconscious part of the mind where those emotions, thoughts or feelings reside of which we have no awareness.

Breath and Mind are deeply interconnected. We can understand it by observing our breath during different types of emotions. We are short of breath when we are angry; breath becomes long and slow when we are relaxed or at peace and so on. Normally we are not aware of our breath, hence we are not aware of our mind too. Breath Consciousness opens the hitherto unconscious areas of the mind i.e. Autonomic Nervous System is accessed and we are in better control of our thoughts, emotions and feelings. We start becoming aware of our mind and its processes. Disturbed mind runs havoc with breath {it becomes irregular or chaotic} whereas regulated breath with awareness creates calmness in the mind. Along with this, there operates an energy pattern inside the body which is intangible. This Energy Pattern shifts according to the replenishment of Prana.

Breath becomes all important now. Because if we focus on breath, along with deep breathing, we can manipulate the quantum of energy {Prana} supplied to different organs through the Pranic body (Pranamaya Kosh). The supply of Prana to different cells can be regulated by conscious deep breathing leading to healing of the part. This normally works best in association with Spinal breathing where we regulate the movement of Prana through the Sushumna Nadi, activating our Chakras or Energy Junctions on the way. With practice Kundalini can be awakened which is a storehouse of infinite energy. Once this process starts, one doesn’t get tired easily and can direct energy to any part of the body for healing; and of course, to Brahmrandhra where it meets the topmost Chakra, Sahastrar.

Therefore Right Breathing and Breath Awareness are two most important mediums to access the Inner Self. Deep breathing and breath awareness can open entirely new dimensions in our being. We can access our innermost core leading to permanent transformation in our Body-Mind-Energy Matrix.

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