Seems like such a woo-woo, hippy dippy statement, doesn’t it?
But it is true.
Our bodies can survive weeks without food and days without water.
It cannot go for longer than a six minutes without breath.
From a physiological perspective, the western model of thinking says this is because the brain cannot survive without oxygen. And of course this is true.
What what creates LIFE?
We can use machines to breath for people and infuse their brains with oxygen but that does not always enliven them.
Yogis believe that carried on our breath is Prana. Which is life force. It permeates all life and has an intelligence of its own.
The very cool thing about the world now is that western-model scientists and researchers are also yogis and meditators. And they are researching why pranayama (breath control or life force control) has such a powerful effect on our health.
Research is showing that controlling our breath in certain ways regulates our heart rate variability (HRV). HRV has a direct relationship with our autonomic nervous system which controls our flight or fight response. You’ve likely learned this in yoga class. When our nervous system is in a state of fear (sympathetic response) - we are prone to inflammation and chronic pain as well as anxiety and depression.
Our breath and the WAY we consciously breath it, affects what is referred to as “automatic” in our bodies. Breath control can control our pulse, our body temperature, our digestion, our circulation, our metabolism, etc.
This is what science is saying right now.
From my personal perspective, gleaned over the last 10 years of personally studying different breath techniques is that the breath can repattern (for optimum health) not only our nervous systems but also our minds. Our conscious and subconscious minds.
Working with my breath has changed my consciousness. It has brought patterns to the surface that don’t serve me so I can let them go. It has made me aware of the way my life circumstances have left an imprint on my psyche; and how to change that imprint. In fact, the magnificent thing about working with the breath is that you don’t have to actively do anything to change these imprints, we just have to keep consciously breathing.
There are so many techniques. So many lineages. Breath is medicine and there are so many different medicines.
Begin with breathing consciously and evenly. Begin by being AWARE of your breath. All the time.
Experience the extraordinary healing in the simplicity of that.