Tuesday, July 24, 2012

" Life ... "

How many time have your friends let you down?
Just open up your heart
Just open up your mind
How many times has your faith slipped away?
Well, is anybody safe?
Does anybody pray? ...
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we're alive
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we'll survive
~ Our Lady Peace ~ Life ~ 
We all know no breath = no life,  but are you familiar with Pranayama breathing?  The art of yoga breathing ...   
Pranayama is a Sanskirt word meaning “extension of prana or breath or life force” ...

  • Prana is life force ... vital energy ... breath 
  • ayama is to extend ... draw out
By practicing Pranayama or breathing exercise we promote proper breathing.  You see, many moons ago, the yogis realized the important of adequate oxygen supply.  That is why they developed and perfected breathing techniques to revitalize the mind and the body.
My keen interest in yoga has lead me to practice this breath control.  With these techniques it is believed one can prevent major diseases and possibly cure minor illnesses, thanks to bringing more oxygen to the blood and brain, we control the prana or vital life energy.
But don't most of us take breathing for granted?  It is something that occurs automatically, spontaneously, and naturally.  We are breathing even when we are not aware of it.  So it is nice to know that breathing is one of the ways to get rid of waste products and toxins from our body too.  Science even shows us the importance of oxygen ... essential for proper functioning of brain, nerves, glands and other internal organs.  We can survive without food for weeks, water for days but if we lack oxygen ... we would expire within a few minutes.  
And some of the basics of what oxygen does for us ...
  • purifies the blood stream
  • rejuvenates our skin
  • supports the production of ATP, a chemical required for energy production
  • reverses arterial dis-ease ...
Therefore, if we can practice healthy breathing by the use of Pranayama breathing or breathing exercises we can ensure we are not compromising our health.  Unhealthy habits can develop without even being aware of it ... slouching can diminish lung capacity and shorten your breath ... stress and anxiety can lead shallow and fast breathing ... Now how many of us can relate?
So how do we improve our life force?  
We learn to properly breath .... the first rule for correct breathing is to breath through the nose instead of the mouth.  The nose has various defense mechanism to prevent impurities and excessively cold air entering the body.  Pathogens can also enter the lungs through mouth breathing that makes it impossible to be healthy.  So to break the habit of breathing through the mouth, just keep your mouth closed and you will automatically breathe through your nose.
Out of interest,  the Yogis believe that the olfactory organ has another function ... to absorb the Prana from the air.  So if you breathe through the mouth all the time, you are cheating yourself of all this free energy.  Choosing to follow the path of ancient Yogis and relying on science, you can practice correct breathing to not only increase your health and life span, but also to attain super conscious states ... our ultimate goal.

...the Universe is filled with prana; all creation is a manifestation of force, a play of force... 
Everything that was, is, or shall be, is nothing but different modes of expression of the universal force.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 - 1952)

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