The Breathing Technique
“Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing.
Breath is, literally, Life.”
Breathing is an innate physiological function common to all of us living beings. Not only do we take it for granted but believe it is not something that needs to be learned. After all, breathing is the very first thing we do when we come into this world and the very last right before we leave.
Taking this into consideration, it’s safe to affirm that babies are the most skilled human beings when it comes to breathing properly. Since they do not have present problems or worries about their future, they are mainly happy to exist and they show exactly that with every breath they take.
Why is it then that we unlearn how to breathe properly as we grow older?
As strange as it sounds, most of us do not know how to breathe properly. Shallow breathing –reaching only the upper chest- tends to be the norm for the majority of people, especially if we live a rushed and stressful lifestyle.
As we experience a variety of emotions every single day, each of these feelings generate a reaction that in many cases goes unperceived. From fear of disapproval and rejection to guilt, anger, sadness, worry and concern, these and other stressors create emotions that affect our physiology and the way we breathe, on a moment by moment basis. Just observe an angry person’s breathing pattern and you will witness this first hand!
To make matters worse, some people experience breathing problems due to already existing health conditions such as sleep apnea, allergies, excess weight, COPD, and asthma among others. When you add to these conditions the effects that emotions have on breathing patterns, it’s easy to see how many individuals are breathing-deficient.
When we think about these implications, the importance of proper breathing becomes obvious. Even for people who are otherwise healthy, breathing properly may mean the difference between feeling tired and sleepy all day long versus feeling vibrant and ready to tackle their daily tasks.
Let’s review a handful of effects that shallow breathing has over our physical health.
Physiologically speaking, improper breathing causes hypo-ventilation which prevents proper oxygenation of the blood. As muscle cells are deprived from oxygen, fatigue, stiffness, pains and aches, sleepiness, and exhaustion become common.
Moreover, when brain cells suffer from lack of oxygen, the results are nervousness, irritability, headaches, foggy thinking, and difficulty with concentration and problem-solving.
If this is not addressed, this condition can spring into on-going lack of motivation and lack of vitality, and eventually it can turn into depression. As if that was not enough, there are some aspects of improper breathing that are not commonly known or discussed, even though these can profoundly impact the overall health of a person in a more profound way. We’re talking here about the spiritual, psychic, and mental aspects of breathing.
From the spiritual viewpoint, breathing is a process of exchange in which we ‘take in’ from the universe, and we give back to it with every single breath. It is a rhythmic exchange of ‘Chi‘ or energy, a basic and natural part of the life and world we all share.
And it goes even further. When a person breathes properly, he/she is able to take in and capture the energy from the surrounding environment and can send focused prana to a specific organ in his/her body with the purpose of making it stronger and more invigorating. If you have ever practiced Qi-Gong, you know what I’m referring to. This is an extremely powerful technique to help the healing process and/or to keep the body functioning at peak performance.
Now let’s discuss the psychic side of breathing. When you breathe properly you can literally recharge your vital energy and even learn to project your healing thoughts toward others. You can also learn to do this at will by just using the power of breathing to accumulate and then release prana with a specific intention and target.
As such, breathing can be used in conjunction with Reiki for distance healing purposes. You can influence others at a distance giving that your motives are pure and of good will. When you combine deep breathing with the power of thoughts, you can also charge water to enhance its hydrating and natural healing properties. How amazing is that?!
Lastly, there’s the mental influence that breath exerts. Not only can the body be controlled by the mind under the direction of the will, but the mind itself can be trained and cultivated by the exercise of the controlling will, all by using proper breathing. From self-confidence, to self control and increased mental power, the advantages are diverse and exciting.
“The Occidental teachings show that the physical health depends very materially upon correct breathing. The Oriental teachers not only admit that their Occidental brothers are right, but say that in addition to the physical benefit derived from correct habits of breathing, Man’s mental power, happiness, self control, clear-sightedness, morals, and even his spiritual growth may be increased by an understanding of the Science of Breath.”
As you’ve learned, the benefits of proper breathing are huge, and they influence every part of your being. This is a powerful reason for us all to dedicate time to re-learn (or remember?) how to properly breathe as when we were babies. Fortunately, it is not difficult at all.
The “Hindu Yogi Science of Breath” a complete manual of the Oriental Breathing Philosophy of physical, mental, psychic and spiritual development will provide you not only with the facts, but with exercises that you can easily practice on your daily life.
All it takes is learning the how and then give it some practice. You do not need to learn yoga or assume any particular position to properly breathe. In due time, it will become second nature to you and you will be breathing properly as you go about your day. Give it a try. Your body, mind and soul will thank you accordingly…
“The atoms of the human body are in constant vibration. Unceasing changes are occurring. In a few months there is almost a complete change in the matter composing the body, and scarcely a single atom now composing your body will be found in It a few months hence. Vibration, constant vibration. Change, constant change.”
All quotes on this page were taken from “Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath” by Yogi Ramacharaka. Inspired? Get the book by clicking on the image below, and re-learn to breathe for emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being!