We are not in control. We are governed by reaction and fluctuation. By our own patterns, habits and programming. Can you really say that you are light, free and can you communicate with yourself and others in a way that leave you inspired and motivated? Happy even? If yes, you have got it. If no, then you don't ride the waves of prana. But you could! Here, in this months concluding fourth part on the theme of breathing I'll tell you more.
Learn to listen to your breath
When prana is spread evenly throughout the cellular body, compassion and equanimity arise and the fluctuations of the mind ceases. This phenomenon can be achieved by cultivating the art of listening intentionally to your breath. To let go of the need to manoever and control the breath. Pranayama and meditation are acts of letting go. With these practices you learn how to let go of psychological blockages and attachments. They will over time help you to free yourself from who you think you are and get you in touch with the essence of who you really are.
Really, the only thing that stands in between the percieved y o u and the real y o u is the identification of yourself. What you can and can't do. Our emotional dams block the flow of prana. This disruption creates an increased tension in your body, mind and spirit that directs itself as pain, stress, anxiety, anger and frustration as well as weakness in the body due to poor circulation and breathing musculature. When you see yourself as separate from everything conflict with everything often arise. There is little peace and relaxation in that mode, mostly wear and tear. Fight and flight.
During pranayama we literally drink litres of vitality and immunity. We supercharge the blood with extra oxygen. When we retain the breath, we literally inject more oxygen into the bloodstream.
Practicing pranayama is tenacious. Few people keep at it. Maybe for a few weeks, then something more ”fun” and ”important” takes over. Some people just want the quick fix and others notice the rapid changes and that can be confusing and some get afraid of the gained insight and strength. Pranayama practice is subtle and affect us at the root of mental and physical exictense. That is why we need it daily; since it is delicate and powerful. It will change you towards your optimal potential.
Be in your body
I cannot emphasize enough that one needs to be in the body in order to succeed with pranayama. To stay safe you should not overestimate your vitaly and stamina. Your mind might want to achieve a lot. But this is a powerful practice and one needs to cultivate a sensitivity towards hearing the bodys signals since it tells you the state of your inner organs and systems. Therefore a solid asana practice (or martial arts, pilates, tai chi or qigong is great as well) is important.
First, asanas help to revitalise our limbs, organs and nervous systems. Then they open up our vital force that lies dormant in our pranic sheath. Asana and breathing in asana help purify the channels, which if clogged, can overwhelm the system and practitioner. So if your heartbeart races, you experience shortage of breath, increase itch, powerful headaches, pressure in the head, eyes or ears; your body tells you that it cannot release the pressure inside its systems due to toxins, tensions, weakness and/or stress.
Pranayama is the next step after you can sit still. Think about it. You might be able to do advanced asanas, run and move a lot but have a problems sitting still. Sitting still can be hard. And that is where you can really strenghten the mind, brain and nervous system. When the body can circulate itself for 30 minutes and leave the power of awareness over to you to cultivate, train and practice what governs all of you; the BREATH.
The practice of pranayama takes us beyond our skeletal, muscular and circulatory systems, even beyond the nervous and endocrine systems. In its essence, this practice aims to attain mastery over the life force itself. And in that pursuit, your body heals, your mind gets strong and focused and your spirit free and happy. You are on you way to your strongest and truest you.
- For further reading go to my YINYOGA book (Skyhorse Publishing)
Videos for your breath practice
This meditation is a wonderful tool to help us focus in our day to day lives on what we want to and let go of what we don't want. In the modern day world of constant stimulus and distraction this is an invaluable practice to help us focus, in a calm and loving way.
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