“To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Good morning , meditation done.
Quote for the Day:
“To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies
Thich Nhat Hanh
In 1970, Swami Rama, who was raised in the Himalayan caves and had trained in the closely guarded secrets of yoga since the age of three, walked into an American research laboratory. Under the most rigorous experimental conditions, he simulated death by virtually stopping his brainwaves and heartbeat, and yet remained fully conscious of events occurring around him in the laboratory. His breathing abilities stunned the Western scientific establishment, and they began to take notice of the inner science of the Indian yogis, which far exceeded the knowledge of the Western physicians and physiologists.
Svarodaya in Sanskrit means the science of breath. Breathing is the one physical function, which is both involuntary and voluntary. The Indian inner explorers understood this, and realized that breath is the key to control over the autonomic nervous system. By learning to manipulate their breathing patterns, yogis gained control over their brain function to an extent scarcely anyone in the West would have believed possible, until Swami Rama walked into that laboratory.
Swami Rama insisted that the human body is actually organised around a field of energy called Sukshima Shariva (Sanskrit for subtle body), which most Western scientists still dispute. But he manipulated this energy field to raise tumerous growths on his arms and then make them disappear in a matter of hours.
We are finally learning to appreciate the profound wisdom and insight of these ancient practices of breath control. Unfortunately, now we have awoken to the wonderful medical possibilities of these ancient practices, the indigenous cultures of these preserved traditions are vanishing forever. Luckily, in the cave monasteries of the Himalayas and the forest hermitages of India, the yoga masters continue to practice the teachings and understandings, which have made them legendary for centuries. Many of these masters, such as Pattabhi Jois, have taught these methods to Western students. Hundreds of thousands of Westerners flock to Mysore in India to learn his methods, carried on by his grandson, Sharath, and daughter, Saraswathi, after Pattabhi Jois’ death on May 18, 2009 at the age of 93.
The Science of Breath
The book Science of Breath is an introduction to how yogis regulate Prana through the science of breath. It’s written in terms a Westerner can understand by Swami Rama, Rudolph Ballentine, MD and Alan Hymes, MD.
Rudolph Ballentine is a physician and psychiatrist who studied medicine in the US, and psychology in both the US and France. He also studied Ayurvedic medicine and homeopathy in India.
Alan Hymes is a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, and a pioneer in breath research; he has studied the interrelationship between breathing patterns and cardiovascular disease.
Swami Rama is the founder of the Himalayas Institute, and received his spiritual training in the Himalayan cave monasteries as a child.
The book shows a thorough understanding of the breath, that it is a powerful tool for expanding our awareness of the various dimensions of the body and mind.
Western medicine tends to differentiate between the physical, as studied by the physicians (medical doctors) and the mental, as studied by psychiatrists. In the East, and particular amongst the practitioners of medicine and yoga, the relationship between the body and mind has been thoroughly explored, and they have found the intermediate link is primarily connected to energy.
If it is true that breath influences both body and mind, then the rhythm and rate of breath would not only reflect one’s physical condition, but would also help to create and be an important indicator of one’s emotional and mental state.
Yogis sometimes appear to read people’s minds, by observing the quality of people’s breath. This is a tool that I find particularly useful when personal training and teaching yoga to my clients. If I am in a gym, I usually warm clients up on a cross trainer or other piece of cardio equipment, and talk to them whilst assessing their breathing, which enables me to see how hard they are working, what physical condition they are in and how they are feeling.
The Mechanics of Breathing
If we think of the chest cavity as a cylinder, one can produce an increase in volume, and consequently inhalation, by one of three means: extending the diaphragmatic flow of the cylinder downward, expanding the walls outward or moving the top cylinder upward. We shall call these three phases diaphragmatic breathing, chest breathing and clavicular breathing. In a yogic breath, all three phases occur in sequence to obtain maximum breath capacity.
Diaphragmatic Breathing is the most physiologically efficient. This is accomplished by pushing the diaphragm downwards, whilst the wall releases and moves passively outwards. A major portion of the circulating blood in the lungs goes to the lower portions, creating expansion. Interestingly, infants and small children use their diaphragms exclusively for breathing until the bony chest matures. Diaphragmatic breathing is a key part in the techniques used by classically trained opera singers, classically trained actors and demonstrated superbly as we mentioned earlier by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, to achieve a full sound and maximum projection.
Chest Breathing fills in the middle and upper portion of the lungs with air, but is not as efficient as the lower portion. When the body is upright, most of the blood is in the lower, gravity-dependent areas. So air is not mixed as thoroughly and requires more work to accomplish the same blood/gas mixing than slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing. Also, more blood needs to circulate through the lungs, which requires more work from the heart. Therefore, how much work the cardiovascular system has to do is directly linked to how efficiently one breathes.
The third type of breathing is Clavicular Breathing, which is only significant when the maximum amount of air is required like in vigorous exercise or the highest notes in singing like Mariah’s whistle notes. The two clavicles or collarbones are pulled up slightly at the maximum inhalation, which expands and lengthens the top of the lungs when the body’s oxygen demands are great.
The Yogic Breath
The three types of inhalation can be coordinated in one smooth exercise for a maximum deep breath. This is the complete breath used in yoga, which iniates in the diaphragm, resulting in the slight expansion of the lower ribs and protrusion of the upper abdomen, oxygenating the lower lung fields and then the middle portions of the lungs expand with outward chest movement. Finally, the slight raising of the clavicles expands the uppermost lungs’ tips
After the lungs are filled to their maximum capacity, how are they emptied? The key is relaxation, as experienced in sighing or letting out a deep breath in a completely relaxed, passive motion, without muscle contraction to push the air out. This allows the lungs to act as if they are elastic, and shrink back to their original size, much like a balloon once the end is untied.
The quality of this breathing process is of great importance in maintaining health and energy production. Anxiety is associated with chest breathing and many people attempt to suppress their fears by holding in their stomachs and stilling the diaphragm. People also hold their stomachs in for body image, whilst diaphragmatic breathing pushes the abdomen forward. But a protruding stomach is not fashionable. So we are told to push our chest out and hold our stomach in leading to an increased reliance on chest breathing. Through practice and awareness, we need to change the habits of a lifetime and learn to breathe in a more efficient manner to boost our energy production, reduce stress and fatigue levels and maintain good health.
When I teach yoga, I always start my class or private session with the participants lying still on their backs with eyes closed. I get them to concentrate on their full quality yogic breath, to calm their minds and bring them away from stress.
Fascinatingly I can really tell people’s personalities just by observing them in this breathing position. The people who cannot lie still and have to open their eyes and look around at everything and everybody else tend to be flighty in everyday life, and struggle to focus.
I have also been doing this with children, and their teachers and parents have been amazed to see how for up to five minutes at a time I can get children to lie completely still and breathe. I tell the children and my clients that anytime they feel upset or under pressure, to take time out in the sanctuary of their bedroom or their own space and lie or sit still with their eyes closed, and breathe for five to 10 minutes. The calming effect is virtually immediate, and rejuvenating.
Practicing yoga everyday for 10 years has really helped me in all aspects of my own life.
The more I exercise and practice the stronger my breathing becomes and the more control of it I have.
The yoga poses and breathing teach me that if I control my breath I can control my mind. The pain and discomfort I feel in the awkward yoga poses, will go away if I breathe and stay calm. This mirrors situations in life which can seem impossible with no way out, but if you stay calm, focused and breathe then your head clears, the situation does not seem as bad as you first thought and you can see a way forward.
Yoga has taught me to focus my mind and not be distracted by outdoor forces and things that I cannot control.
I have also learnt that I cannot do all the poses or asana, but this is not failure, the point of yoga is not to be able to do all the poses, it is the daily process of trying to achieve them that is important. Because as soon as you have mastered a difficult pose, you will come across another one that you will feel is impossible, when you first start, but if you practice every day it will become a little bit easier as you improve every day.
This is the basis of my Elysium Way Training System.
The Elysium Way enhances and enriches lives allowing you to reach your full potential physically, mentally and spiritually.
And one of the main components of the Elysium Way is practicing yoga.
If you would like to improve your breathing and control your own mind by introducing yoga into your life or to strengthen your daily practice to help you focus, smile more and achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams?
Why not take your first step and come on my yoga retreat in Morocco from Saturday March 18th to 25th and join me at the Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort the new five-star luxury destination in El Jadida Morocco
Click Here to find out more
The location is amazing.
It is a truly unique coastal destination resort, less than an hour drive south of Casablanca and set in a region abounding in contrasts that has preserved all its authenticity.
Rooms and suites overlook the lagoon, the golf course, the swimming pool and the patio, plunging down to the sea from the terraces and offering a 180-degree view over the Atlantic Ocean.
The view will take your breath away.
So if you would like to learn more about yoga and join me for some fun in the sun at a beautiful, exotic location in Morocco, then Click Here
Have a tremendous Tuesday peeps.
Master your breath, control your body and your mind and may all your dreams come true.
Breathe, Believe and Achieve
Be Happy, Healthy and Wise
Keep on Winning Smiling and Living the Dream