Breath of Life! - Healthy Earth 2012 Survival Plan

Written by Vera Del Vecchio - Healthy Earth Yoga Newsletter April 2012

How can you tell if you are not well? The very first thing that goes off is the breath. The breath becomes shallow, heavy, and irregular. You will know it right away. In Yoga, we believe that;

If you are not breathing proper, you are not living to your potential!

Yogi Bhajan

yoga breath

One of the primary teachings in all yoga's is about taking a breath. It is the most important thing before anything else!

Babies take their first breath soon as they are born and is the most important thing to look for to see if the baby is healthy. Babies are also the greatest example of how proper breathing is done. If you can see a baby breathing, you will notice that their tummies slowly rise to expand, filling their chest, followed by slowly deflating the chest back to their tummies. Kind of like bowing up a balloon and then letting the air out. It is an automatic soft rhythm that comes naturally without forcing or thinking of the motions.

So why do we choose to forget this simple concept of breathing? Suck it up and stomach in, chest out are sayings that have been commonly used in society. Is it the fear, or the not wanting to show your belly that has transformed us to be so self consciousness that we may force ourselves to not take a full breath?

Shallow breathing may not be very important to you, but it is of the utmost importance and priority for all your organs and your whole body to keep healthy! Taking a complete breath means that oxygen is delivered to nourish and renew your blood, organs, and whole body systems. It also means the carbon dioxide is expelled through the breath to expel all the toxins out of your body for the renewal and revitalization to take place. So you see, proper breathing is a matter of life. If you are not breathing, you are not living to your potential! True health, vitality and livelihood is taking a life giving breath. So take a breath....ha....ha..ha........ Now doesn't that feel wonderful!

Long Deep Breathing - according to Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan:

The simplest of all the yogic breaths is just long deep breathing, but it is a habit that we, as a culture, do not have. Our normal tendency is to breath irregularly and shallowly. This leads to a total emotional approach to life, chronic tension and weak nerves. The lungs are the largest organs of the human body. The average lungs can enlarge to a volume of almost 6,000 cubic centimeters. Besides supplying oxygen to and removing carbon dioxide from the body, the respiratory systems helps regulator body pH (acidity - alkalinity) and helps excrete water vapor, hydrogen and small amounts of methane. Normally we may use only 600 or 700 cubic centimeters of that capacity. If you do not expand the lungs to their full capacity, the small air sacks in the lungs, called alveoli, cannot clean their mucous lining properly. Therefore you do not get enough oxygen, and toxic irritants build up that lead to infections and disease.

Yogi Bhajan

By taking a deep yogic breath you can expand the lungs by about 8 times. If you establish a habit of breathing long, deep, and slowly you will have endurance and patience. If you can take the breath down below 8 times per minute the pituitary starts secreting fully. If the breath is less than 4 times per minute the pineal gland starts functioning fully and deep meditation is automatic.

Yogi Bhajan

Simple, Natural Breathing

www.3ho.org teachings:

In correct, simple natural breathing, the Navel Point moves: out on the inhale, in and up on the exhale. We use the inhale to make ourselves wider, and the exhale to make ourselves longer.

Many people learn to breathe backwards: they inhale by pulling the belly in, thus making the space for the breath less rather than more. People who are often anxious or smoke frequently tend to have this pattern. The single most important thing a student will learn to practicing Kundalini yoga is how to breathe correctly. To teach beginners how to breathe correctly, use a natural calm breath, considering the following:

  1. Encourage clothing which is loose around the belly. This allows for unobstructed movement of the diaphragm.
  2. Sit with a straight spine, shoulders relaxed, and eyes closed. Or, you may want to experience while lying on your back.
  3. Inhale a breath by filling up your belly and chest. A natural breath uses the nose to take a breath to filter, warm, and humidify the air. The nostrils are connected to the ida and pingala and therefore prana (breath) is taken into the body through the nose, stimulating the pituitary and the Third eye.
  4. Encourage a complete exhale, emptying the lungs of toxins.
  5. Promote a feeling of connectedness.

Long Deep Breathing (Yogic Breath)

Long Deep Breathing uses the full capacity of the lungs, by utilizing the three chambers of the lungs: 1. Abdominal or lower, 2. Chest or middle, 3. Clavicular or upper.

All three parts combined gives you a Long Deep Breath:

  1. Sit up straight - this gives a balanced position with the ribs and muscles to move freely.
  2. Inhale with an Abdominal Breath. Then add the Chest Breath and finish with the Clavicular Breath with a smooth motion.
  3. To exhale, relax the Clavicle by slowing emptying the chest and emptying the abdomen to all remaining air.

Benefits of Long Deep Breathing

  1. Relaxes and calms, due to influence of parasympathetic nervous system.
  2. Increases the flow of prana (breath).
  3. Reduces and prevents the build-up of toxins in the lungs buy encouraging the clearing of the small air sacs (alveoli).
  4. Stimulate the brain chemicals - endorphins - that help fight depression.
  5. Brings the brain to a new level of alertness.
  6. Pumps the spinal fluid to the brain giving grater energy.
  7. Breathing long and deep, plus concentration, stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete, enhancing the intuition.
  8. Filling the lungs to capacity revitalizes and re-adjusts the magnetic field.
  9. Cleanses the blood.
  10. Regulates the body's pH (acid-alkaline balance), which affects the ability to handle stressful situation.
  11. Energizes, and increase vitality.
  12. Aids in releasing blockages in meridian energy flow.
  13. Activates and clears the nerve channels.
  14. Aids in speeding up emotional and physical healing.
  15. Aids in breaking subconscious habit patterns such as insecurity and fears.
  16. Re-channels previous mental conditioning on pain so as to reduce or eliminate pain (example childbirth).
  17. Gives capacity to manage negativity and emotions, supporting clarity, and patience.
  18. Resets the body rhythm better than anything else.

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