There is a certain number of breaths that we all take in life. It is believed in Yogic philosophy that on some cosmic level we all choose the total number of breaths that we will take in our life. Taking this further, if we breathe deeper and for longer, we will live deeper and for longer. And the quality of our breath represents the quality of our life. So if we breathe well, we live well.
The breath underpins all of our Yoga practice. It is the key that unlocks the magic.
Today I share with you some key facts about the breath -
🕉 The first step in breathing well is your awareness of the breath. It sounds obvious but many of us, much of the time are not even aware of how we breathe.
🕉 In Yoga, breath awareness is called Pranayama. Prana = energy, lifeforce, breath. Ayama = to extend. Thus Pranayama is to extend our lifeforce.
🕉 The breath is the most vital part of the body. It influences every cell and the brain. It sends signals as to whether to activate the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system.
🕉 The breath is intimately linked to all aspects of the human experience.
🕉 The breath is the bridge between the conscious and the unconscious areas of the mind.
🕉 Pranayama uses the breath to influence the flow of prana (energy) in the nadis (energy channels).
🕉 The breath relates to the integration of rhythms and cycles in life.
And some of my favourite quotes on breathing -
🕉 "When the breath wanders, the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still and the Yogi achieves long life". Hatha Yoga Pradipika
🕉 "The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings". DKV Desikachar
🕉 "Each time you bring yourself back to the breath is a moment of training. This is how the heart and mind learn to move from a state of habitual and reactive distraction to one that is more responsive, creative and aware". Vidyamala Burch
🕉 “For breath is life, & if you breathe well you will live long on earth.” Sanskrit Proverb
SOUL REFLECTION - notice your breath at different intervals today. Begin the journey of breathing well by simply bringing your awareness to how you breathe. Can you comfortably extend the breath? Can you breathe all the way into your belly, activating your diaphragm? Breathe well and live well.