Thousands of years ago, there were scientists who explored the deep relationship between the breath and the mind through breathing exercises. These inner scientists in deep study made many discoveries through simple observation of deep breathing and deep breathing exercises. They spent countless hours simply watching the breath and noticing what happens next in the mind and body. They explored subtle manipulations of breath, thereby creating breathing exercises. Some breathing exercises are simple whereas others are complex and elaborate. These eventually evolved into what is now known as a system of yogic techniques. There are many benefits of deep breathing that range from short term relief to long term changes. Essentially, what these inner scientists discovered is that if you can change your breath, you can change your life.
Imagine that. You have the means quite literally at the tip of your nose, to change your life. With breathing exercises, you have the technology to access your mind and direct your life the way you want it.
This is good news for those who are feeling overworked, disengaged, and burned out, which includes many of us. In fact:
- According to a Staples Advantage study 53% of Americans feel burned out
- According to Glassdoor 61% of people work while on vacation
With this much power within our reach, isn’t it interesting that sometimes you forget to breathe or your breathing is shallow? Ever notice when you do forget to breathe and when you suddenly do take a deep breath, it feels really good. The sensation is pleasant and refreshing. It’s hard to take just one. So, you continue with the deep breathing for a few more breaths and notice your mind and body slowing down. Perhaps it brings you into the present moment as well. You become aware of your surroundings and where you are.
Like these inner scientists, you can also make changes in your physiology with deep breathing exercises. Indeed, you can even make psychological changes. Ever hear of the expression: take a deep breath and count to ten when you are angry or stressed? There is so much practical wisdom in that statement.
Sadhguru shares more wisdom with regard to deep breathing:
Breath is not just the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. For different levels of thought and emotion that you go through, your breath takes on different types of patterns. When you are angry, peaceful, happy or sad, your breathe goes through subtle changes. Whichever way you breathe, that is the way you think. Whichever way you think, that is the way you breathe.
The breath can be used as a tool to do many things with the body and the mind. Pranayama is the science where, by consciously breathing in a particular way, the very way you think, feel, understand and experience life can be changed.
If you travel through the breath, deep into yourself, to the deepest core of the breath, it will take you to that point where you are actually tied to the body.
If I ask you to watch your breath, which is the most common practice people do these days, you think you are watching the breath, but you are only able to notice the sensations caused by the movement of air. It is like, if someone touches your hand, you think you know the touch of the other person, but actually you only know the sensations generated within your body; you do not know how the other person feels.
If you travel through the breath, deep into yourself, to the deepest core of the breath, it will take you to that point where you are actually tied to the body. Once you know where and how you are tied, you can untie it at will. Consciously, you can shed the body as effortlessly as you would shed your clothes. When you know where your clothes are tied, it is easy to drop them. When you don’t know where it is tied, whichever way you pull, it does not come off. You have to tear them apart. Similarly, if you do not know where your body is tied to you, if you want to drop it, you have to damage or break it in some way. But if you know where it is tied, you can very clearly hold it at a distance. When you want to drop it, you can just drop it consciously. Life becomes very different.
Consciously or not, every human being is working towards this – they want to expand and this is the ultimate expansion. It is just that they are going towards the infinite in installments, which is a very long and impossible process. If you count – 1, 2, 3, 4 – you will only become endless counting. You will never reach the infinite. When one realizes the futility of this, he naturally turns inwards to do this – by untying the life process from the body.
In this video, you can learn a simple 5 minute yogic breathing exercise. It is called Nadi Shuddhi and creates a balanced system and psychological wellbeing that you can experience right away.