The Art of breathing or is breathing an art?

"The mind is like a kite, and the breath is like the string of the kite. Just like you control a kite with the string, same way with the breath you can start to have some control over your mind."

- Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

What is that thing that unites us all? That is the  breath! 

Our life starts with  the first breath in and ends with the last breath out, and in between we are breathing  all the time without a break. Have you ever paid attention to your breath? Often we notice our breath  only when we run our ot breath after fast running or feel breathlessness after walking  up  the stairs.

Breath is a life

How long can we survive without food? Without sleep? And how long without the breath?

Breath is the main source of energy - it is much  more necessary for sustaining vital functions  of our body than food or sleep. We take breaths every 4-5 seconds and  perhaps, due to this need, the breathing became for us something ordinary, not important. But a huge potential is hidden right here!

For many centuries in many different cultures breath was considered to be  one of the most important functions in human body. Generally there are three main functions  attributed to the breath:

  1. Breath as a mechanism to support  life. Every incoming  breath fills us with energy and every outgoing  breath relaxes and cleanses our system.
  2. Breath as a mechanism for recovery. Frequency, depth and  smoothness of  breath reflect our physical and emotional state. And if we learn to use our breath properly  it can help us to relieve and even to cure virtually any  disease. Because  the surface area of our  lungs  many times exceeds the surface area of our skin, so it can remove more toxins out of our system.
  3. Breath as a mechanism of self-development. During the whole history of humanity the breath (pranayamas) were used for fulfilling or unlocking of human's potential and it was considered to have very mystical qualities.

There is a quote in The Bible about the connection between the breath and spirituality and between life and  breath: «And God has created a human from earth ash, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and became a human being the living soul». Pentateuh, Book I 2:7.

The breath itself connects us with  our environment like nothing else. In average,   every minute we take 15 breaths, and while doing so we inhale  the big amount of microscopic particles and microorganisms  that used to be a part of other people, animals, plants and other objects of the universe before.  

And while  breathing out we produce carbon dioxide, which becomes food for many plants, and we breath out the particles of ourselves which become the part of the environment.

Smooth breath – happy life

Many  of us  have probably  noticed that angry, stressed out person breaths faster and and his breath is more shallow. And when somebody is sick, the outgoing breaths become longer, as if they are making  «Ooh» sound, trying to get some relieve.  So each and every  emotion changes the rhythm of our breath.

For instance, anger makes us take short breaths in and intense breaths out (like angry ox). Anger also causes tension in the chin area (contracting the jaws), in the  palms (we make the fists) and  in the shoulders.

Such emotional upheavals create oxygen deficiency in the tissues and organs of our body. It causes narrowing of the vessels, dark circles under eyes and worsening of skin condition. Further it causes the problems with metabolism, stiffness in the muscles, changes in nervous and hormonal systems,  and that could lead to a disease.

The same laws applу to the animal world. For instance, what kind of  animals do we associate with calmness and longevity. Turtles and elephants, right? Those,  who are breathing slowly and deeply. And what about our pets – cats, dogs, rabbits? They breathe faster, their breath is  more tensed and  they live not as  long as we would like them to.

In the East there is a provers that says: «Life is measured not by years, but by the number of breaths”.

The average frequency and longevity

       Number of breaths per minuteAverage longevity (years)
♦ Hare
♦ Dog
♦ Cat                              
♦ Human being                         
♦ Turtle
                      55                                                     26                                                     20
                       13                                                        15

It is  proved that 80% (some scientist think that 90%) of the diseases are somatic, that means  -  they develop because of changes in  the emotional state  and in the breathing rhythm.

And if it is  so, then we have a universal mechanism for recovery – our breath. Human beings are the only  creatures on Earth who can consciously  change their breath! All we need is to  learn how to use this mechanism.  

And about it read further …