There have been a few seconds I have experienced deep bliss in my life. In 2005, while I was living in an ashram in the south of India, we had practiced a full hour of intense breathing techniques, and I nearly collapsed and lost consciousness. Shortly after, I felt completely blissful and at one with around me. After our practice, our group took a short walk nearby the sacred mountain of Arunachala, and in those few short moments, I loved everyone. I don’t know how to love everyone, so it made a undeniable impression that I still remember till this day.
The ancient yogis knew that your breath deeply effected your internal state and your consciousness. It was through the physical practice of yoga and purification practices that prepared the body for breathing exercises. Without this preparation you could seriously damage your body and your mental stability. Your breath contains an enormous amount of energy, that when intentionally directed, can make you high as kite, or crazy as a madman. That is why it is always encouraged to practice these breathing techniques with an experienced teacher.
The good news is that you do not need an experienced teacher to be aware of the power of your breath.
Take a moment now, to simply notice your breath in this moment. Is it shallow, fast.. or slow and smooth?
Your breath affects every part of your being. It affects the quality of your thoughts, the way you eliminate toxins, your metabolism, organs.. the list goes on. The yogis knew that if you stretched and stopped your breath, you could master your thoughts, and ultimately shift your consciousness. When you slow down your breath, you slow down your thoughts and begin to shift the quality of your thoughts. When your breath becomes still, your thoughts become ceaseless, and you enter a deep healing process that allows you to be fully present.
Why is your breath so important in realizing higher states?
First of all, your breath directly impacts your health.
When you slow down your breath, you initiate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as “rest and renew.” In today’s time, many people live in a constant state of inner tension and this makes their breath shallow and fast. This state engages the sympathetic nervous system known as “fight or flight.” Your nervous system is hopping with alot of energy and needs to be discharged. Unfortunately many people live in a low grade state of “fight or flight” – also known as stress. That is why it is so important to practice relaxation during your waking state. When you slow down the breath, you begin to initiate the parasympathetic state which allows the body to come back to a state of inner balance, or homeostasis. The parasympathetic allows the body to release toxins, digest and restore. Without it, the body does not have a chance to heal and repair. Without it, the body and mind cannot come back to balance. Without inner balance, it becomes increasingly difficult to be present, have true health, or realize higher states of consciousness.
What people don’t know about what is right under their nose, is that the quality of your breath can save your life.
1) It is impossible to relax when you are breathing shallow and fast. Relaxation is healing for your body and mind.
2) Your breath is a barometer of your internal state. It is direct reflection of your energy and the way you feel. Your breath is connected to your intuition and life force. Every time you notice your breath is strained, take a moment to stop, shift and get your full breath back.
3) Your body and mind need to relax in order to heal and come back into balance. True balance, is known as homeostasis. It is the definition of health. In dictionary terms, homeostasis is defined as: “the tendency of an organism or cell to regulate its internal conditions, such as the chemical composition of its body fluids, so as to maintain health and functioning, regardless of outside conditions.”
The most effective way to initiate the parasympathetic state is to consciously slow down and deepen your breath. Imagine being in a healing state continuously through your day!
The way you breathe, meaningfully affects your ability to be present and the quality of your life.
Take time to notice your breath. Breathe easy and breathe mindfully.
“The True Man breathes with his heels; the mass of men breathe with their throats.” ~ Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu
This is an educational video for a product called the “Stress Eraser”, however it is an excellent online video explaining how your breath effects your physiological state: