“If the motion of the flywheel is not regulated, the whole machine is disturbed. The breath affects more then the body, for the rhythms of the body, in turn, affect one’s emotional and mental life.” Swami Vivekananda
Pranayama Is Conscious Breathing Used To Direct Prana, ‘The Life Force’
The yogis have understood for many years, that conscious breathing can effectively help us manage our thoughts, and increase a deep sense of inner contentment. Abnormal breathing can be induced by poor posture or stress, and is known to increase free radical activity, and other systemic abnormalities. Correct breathing increases energy, improves skin complexion, and supports blood and lymph circulation.Pranayama, is the conscious, or directive way of manipulating the breath, found in many paths of yoga and ayurveda. Pranayama can assist the realignment of correct breath function, increase physical endurance, muscle cell reactivity, and metabolism.
Inadequate Oxygen Is A Primary Contributor To Many Diseases And Premature Aging
When we inhale, oxygen is taken into the body via the nasal sinuses and mouth into the lungs. From there, oxygen is picked up by the iron atom in the blood called hemoglobin, and transported to every cell in our body. Without sufficient red blood cell production, common in many diseases, and related to anemia, digestive disturbances, and B12 insufficiency, a person may not acquire the appropriate amount of oxygen, and chronically suffocate. Without oxygen, we cannot heal negated tissues properly. On the contrary, inadequate oxygen is a primary contributor to many autoimmune diseases, aging, and age related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Breath Is A Primary Facilitator Of Prana
In yoga, the breath is a primary facilitator of prana, the life force. The principal mean to which prana enters the body is via oxygen inhalation, where it then moves through nadis (energetic channels), that course through the entire physical and energetic human template. Through intentional breathing, one can consciously direct prana through the body via the breath. In doing so, one develops the ability to clear blockages and impediments in the hormone and nervous system.
Yogic texts reveal that there is a natural rhythm to the alternation of dominance between the nostrils. If one nostril is dominant for longer periods of time then normal, it can indicate distorted physiologic functions, imbalance, and pathology. Studies in chronobiology, identified similar circadian rhythms in breath patterns with predictable changes in right and left nostril dominance that occur every 20 to 200 minutes.
Breathing Cycles Have A Direct Relationship With Hormonal Balance
Disordered breathing has been observed to occur in conjunction with hormonal imbalances, and several diseases. Several hormones, are involved in the physiologic regulation of breathing, and participate in adjustment of breathing in disease. Leptin, the hormone that tells our body we are full, stimulates respiration. Studies have shown that leptin supplementation assists obese patients with hypoventilation, and reduces physiologic inhibitions to breath appropriately.Estrogen and progesterone are hypothesized to offer protection from sleep-disordered breathing. Excess testosterone imbalances contribute to certain breathing disorders. Researchers speculate that excess testosterone is a key component to the pathogenesis of sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that causes breathing cessation during sleep.
Yogic Anatomy Teaches That Prana Flows Through Energetic Pathways Called Nadis
Yoga practitioners understand the flow of prana through the experience, and perception of its movements. Observations of prana, led to a detailed mapping of the nadis, their systemic function, and relationship, with our breathing patterns.
The nadis are tubular forms of subtle matter that prana flows through in our body. There are countless nadis, and some texts estimate anywhere between 72,000,000 into the billions. All the nadis in the body originate from the same center called the kanda, which is located between the anus and root of our sexual organs.The three most important nadis are the ida, pingala and sushumna. The sushumna is considered “the chief” nadi, and is identified as the human spine. The sushumna, houses the six main chakras inside the body, and the seventh chakra, which is located outside the body above the head.
The ida nadi starts from the right ovary or testicle. The pingala nadi starts at the left ovary or testicle. They intersect several times along the spine before exiting out the nostrils. Ida exists out the left nostril and pingala out the right. Ida is cooling and pacifying. Pingala is heating and stimulating. Ida is the feminine moon. Pingala is the masculine sun.
The Two Primary Nadis Exit Out Of Each Nostril
The attributes of each nadi can be accentuated through pranayama and conscious manipulation of the breath, which is our life force, and prana. Altered nostril breathing, a pranayama practice, restores the balance between the right and left nostril. For example, breathing out of the ida nadi only, while keeping pingala closed with the thumb will help to calm the mind and increase a desire for sleep. Breathing out of the pingala nadi only, while keeping ida closed, will help to stimulate the mind, and increase desire for activity.
When either of these nadis are blocked or inhibited we struggle to access prana. Daily pranayama practice, can assist in the reorganization of our breathing cycle and dominance. Simply through observation and awareness, we can come to know and understand the subtle functions of our body that powerfully influence our totality.