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When we are at peace and in harmony with our self and surroundings, our breath is deep and in sync with the nature. A tortoise takes very few breaths in a minute and is at calm and lives a long life.
In anger or while working at a frenetic pace or breath is shallow. We hardly realise that such raid breaths puts our nervous and circulatory system to strain. A batsman faces a barrage of bouncers and short pitched deliveries and immediately we hear Sunil Gavaskar commenting take a few deep breaths to calm down. Is this because of his association with Satya Sai Baba? There apparently is a spiritual solution to every problem.
A little attention to breath can lead us on to the path of good health. In Yoga, there are several variations of Pranayama or deep breathing techniques which have an indelible impact on our health.
Prana is the subtle life force and Yama is control. A simple but a powerful breathing technique is Nadi Shodan Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing). Nine rounds calms the mind and body and one can then start meditating. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is designed to bring body and mind in balance. To begin with the vital subtle life force is inducted into our channels (Nadis) and then it begins balancing the left and right hemispheres of our mind. The left symbolises logic while the right side of the brain defines creativity. This process of the breathing cleanses the body and harmonises our self.
How does the human body detoxify itself? Through breath, feaces, sweat and urination. Second we need proper exercise (yoga, walks, aerobics or going to the gym), rest and diet. Simple vegetarian food is ideal for the human body.
The secret of breath is amazing and Maharishi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras has expounded on various tenets. Proper breathing releases tension, it is therapeutic for the respiratory and circulatory system, maintains body temperature, balances the hemispheres of the brain and beats heart diseases and reduces cholesterol.
Humans scarcely appreciate that we hardly use 30% of our lung capacity by inefficient breathing practices. H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar among modern masters has cognated the unique rhythmic breathing technique called “Sudarshan Kriya” (Proper Vision Process). This breathing technique harmonises our body and mind. And there are millions of practitioners across the globe who have benefited immensely both physically and emotionally by practising this breathing technique.
Guruji has further postulated that breath is like a string and our thoughts are like a kite. Through this breathing technique we can properly channelize our thoughts. And be in the present moment. Being in present moment is true enlightenment and is meditation. That makes our lives positive.
The author of this article is Ravi Valluri.
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