Breath of Life
It is now eighteen months since I was hospitalised with double pneumonia; Influenza A; so severe, it had me fighting for my life in a coma for seven weeks. The experience was so traumatic not just for myself but for those around me; incredibly traumatic. The recovery; long and frustrating, leaving me to wonder on a spiritual level what was it all about.
Breathing; the most essential of our functions, without it we cannot exist, it contains oxygen and other gases to activate the brain and keep it working. Most people breath naturally without giving it a thought; why would we need to worry about it when it just happens? We innately hold our breath in painful situations, in doing this there is less shock; less pain. When we ponder an important matter to work out a solution, if you pay attention to your breath you will notice it becomes slower and slower.
Controlling the breath helps with exercise and meditation both of which are essential for our health and wellbeing. An Adept (person of enlightenment) who is deeply meditating breathes so slowly so shallowly that one has difficulty in knowing if he is breathing at all. Some people can hold their breath for quite a long time.
Breath (Air) contains Prana. Prana is not a chemical, it is the universal energy of everything. Prana is manifest in everything that we can think of, and yet, it is used carelessly, clumsily and neglectfully. Prana stimulates our thoughts, without adequate prana there can be no thought and no healing.
A healer is a person who can transfer his or her own excess prana to a sufferer. The area of its storage is in the solar plexus. The more Prana we have stored, the more dynamic we are, filled with a vibrant life force and with it, comes the ability to make an impact upon others.
How do you breathe? Let’s now look at some breathing techniques.
- Sitting comfortably keep your spine erect and your head facing forward, relax as much as you can, take a deep long breath, allowing your lower abdomen to swell out without inflating your chest or raising your shoulders. This is lower breathing. Your ribs and intercostal muscles do not move.
- Middle Breathing. Using your ribs and your intercoastal muscles, take a really deep breath, your chest will expand but your abdomen will remain quite normal.
- Now to ventilate the lungs, pull in your abdomen ( like you are trying to suck it up towards the chest) take a deep breath whilst raising your shoulders and keeping your ribs and intercoastal muscles as still as possible.
- The BEST way to breathe, is using all three types. Slowly take in air by swelling out the lower abdomen, keep your shoulders still and ribs rigid. Next swell out your chest using your ribs and intercostal muscles and at the same time you raise your shoulders and force them back. This fills the whole lung area and prevents pockets of stale air which lead to asthma, voice complaints and often lung congestion. Breathing in is only half the battle. When you breath out; shoulders should sag, ribs should close in, your abdomen should push up to squeeze as much stale air from your lungs as possible. You must get rid of stale air and take in fresh to obtain the optimum amount of prana.
Breathing consists of three steps: Breathing in, retaining the breath and exhaling all the breath. If we do not completely exhale then we cannot get full lungs of air on the next inhalation and the incoming air will be contaminated by the stale air (like stagnant water in a pond). Stale air lets bacilli remain undisturbed and so the lungs can be infected by disease.
Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for sixteen seconds, and breath out for eight seconds. You will possibly have different ratio’s but remember, if you breathe irregularly, you are irregular in the mind. As you breath, so you are.
Practice, practice, practice. You might like to sit in a lotus position, with your legs crossed, you don’t have to have the exotic exercise clothing and yoga mats etc, just sit comfortably wherever you are with your spine erect and head forward. If you choose to meditate whilst doing it, you might like to say “OM” on each breath in and out. Then you might like to try closing off one nostril at a time with your finger and breathing in and out through each. Repeating twenty times. Do this over a few weeks and you should start to feel a lot better.
It worked for me and it can for you too.